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Rates are sky-high and only heading higher. Client concern about rates is gaining momentum. But they tell us they are more troubled by a much bigger issue — 45% say their law firms are not fully invested in the relationship or the matter.

To take things further, men and women corporate counsel report vastly different levels of investment by partners working on even their most vexing matters. 61% of the men report their partners are fully invested — they are all in. But only 30% of women corporate counsel tell us the partners working on their matters are fully invested — less than half the rate of men. The reasons:

    • More women corporate counsel tell us they are getting stock answers to questions they think are highly nuanced and unique to their situation.
    • Too long to respond. In a world where corporate counsel are subject to a steady stream of questions about timely issues — they want and need answers.
    • Chasing partners. Corporate counsel report they receive most matter updates only after being prompted in some way.
    • No respect. These corporate counsel are surprised about how many partners tell them “not to worry” about issues they bring up or ask about.

The impact of these unintended behaviors is enormous. No top legal decision maker is going to build a relationship with a partner who is anything less than fully invested. And every client, men and women alike, remembers the partners who give less than 100% — well beyond any surge in demand.

We recommend the following to boost your investment now:

    1. Ask for feedback. This shows you care and want to make things better — even if you are already fully invested.
    2. Find an article you know will be of interest, or is relevant to your client, and share a comment or two about it.
    3. Always explain your answers to questions. If clients don’t have to worry about an issue of concern — explain why — and actively confirm you gave a thorough explanation.
    4. Provide updates before clients ever think of asking.
    5. Offer opinions and recommendations along with any deliverables, or as answers to questions.

The good news is a new surge of investment in relationships can erase the lack of prior investment — real or perceived — and set you up for a growing relationship. Best of all, these recommendations are effective with all corporate counsel.

Best in the market ahead.

The Mad Clientist

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