4 Ways to lose an in-house customer in 30 days or less!

Really enjoyed reading a post by Meyling “Mey” Ly Ortiz – in-house at Toyota Motor North America – on abovethelaw.com on the ‘4 In-House Pet Peeves Of Outside Counsel‘.

At first glance all 4 ‘peeves’ seem so obvious.

But that got me thinking: How many law firms have been dropped from legal panels for these offences?

The Business Developer in me thinks: Enough to make it worthwhile remembering what the four are:

  1. Lack Of Responsiveness
  2. Not Meeting Deadlines
  3. Last-Minute Requests
  4. Talking Down To Us

and take the time to read Mey’s post – you won’t regret it!


photo credit Natalie Pedigo on Unsplash

What’s money go to do with it? [Graph] – Or: Why most law firms struggle to attract and retain lawyers

What is the primary reason a newly admitted attorney should join your

Note the complete lack of responses for “Money now”. Even “Future economic rewards’ scores low.

Then take a look at:

From the list below, what is the primary KPI your firm uses to
measure and monitor associate performance?

Thought provoking – no?

As usual, comments are my own.


Source: MPF 2022 Fall Symposium:

How sticky are your firm’s key clients?

Interesting take-out from the MPF 2022 Fall Symposium:

Fifty percent (50%) report that they are “very concerned” about the concentration of client relationships among senior lawyers. Another 36% are somewhat concerned. Yet, only thirty-five percent (35%) have plans in place to help transition senior lawyers toward retirement.

Which begs the questions: ‘How good is your law firm’s Key Client Account Program?‘; or, probably more importantly: ‘What processes do you have in place to ensure the clients of your firm are firm clients, not partners of the firm clients?

And, if you are not sure how to go about securing your firm’s key clients, check out some tips on this from Kim Tasso or Kevin Wheeler.

As usual, comments are my own.


Q: What’s the average cost of Marketing and BD to a law firm?

A: Many will say between 8 and 10%. Some of the more optimistic may say 15 to 20%. And the pessimistic in the crowd may go as low as 3%.

Very few though would say 0.8%.

Yet that was the finding from the latest PWC law firms survey [2022]:

If data from a P&L statements doesn’t lie, then marketing and business development investment by most law firms is truely woeful and probably goes a long way to explaining why we are where we are…

As usual, comments are my own.


Want to know what the ‘Witching Hour’ in legal is?

Ever wonder what time of the day it is when lawyers say “enough is enough” and down tolls?

Thanks to Joe Patrice from Above The Law, and the team at Clio – who did the actual research, we now know:


3am is the time when most lawyers say they would prefer not to work.

Which actually surprised me a little as I always struggled functioning in the 12am – 2am space and personally would have preferred to down tolls from 10pm – 2pm and be back on the tolls at 3am.

I will also add that while “working” between 10am and 4pm is great, very little real work got done then because I was either in meetings or on the phone – which often resulted in me working at 3am!


As always, opinions are my own – so if you have something to say please do so in the comments section!!


Law firm values – a lesson from the American Marketing Association

I would hazard a guess that every single law firm website you looked at globally would make some mention of that firm’s values. And in most cases, they are very noble – questionable as to whether they are mere words on a page, but noble.

With the above in mind, I read with fascination a post on the Closer Group’s blog recently on ‘BUSINESS ETHICS? REALLY?? YES!‘ in which they set out the following from the American Marketing Association Statement of Ethics from 2014:

  1. Honesty: be forthright in dealings with customers and stakeholders.
  2. Responsibility: accept consequences for marketing decisions and strategies.
  3. Fairness: balance justly the needs of the buyer with the interests of the seller.
  4. Respect: acknowledge the basic human dignity of all stakeholders.
  5. Transparency: create a spirit of openness in marketing operations.
  6. Citizenship: fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic, and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders.

I had not seen these previously, but now I have I can say with authority that law firms don’t need to spend lots of $$$s trying to come to collective agreement on what their firm values are; just adopt, live and breathe these from the American Marketing Association and you will be streets ahead of your competitors!

As always, opinions are my own – so if you have something to say please do so in the comments section!!


Silvia L. Coulter: The Five Big Questions Every Client Relationship Partner Must be Able to Answer

Love this post by Silvia L. Coulter on LawVision (‘The Five Big Questions Every Client Relationship Partner Must be Able to Answer‘).

The 5 questions are:

  1. What are the top three strategic growth objectives of the company overall?
  2. Where is the company spending its R&D dollars? Or, for service firms, research investment dollars and efforts?
  3. What is the biggest challenge the company anticipates as it looks toward the upcoming year?
  4. For what services is the client working with other outside counsel and for which of these services will they consider the client relationship partner’s firm?
  5. Who at the C-level of each client should we meet next?

Which many of us would be challenged to know the answer to – and to know how important those answers are, check out her post.

If you have any ideas about additional questions that need to be asked, let me know


Are ‘support staff’ impacting on your law firm’s profits?

Interesting comment by the BigHand team on a post by them (Lack of Urgency in Firms’ Support Structures Risks Profitability) on the artificiallawyer.com website this week:

Lawyers don’t want to spend time figuring out how to get work to a competent, properly skilled support team member. Firms want lawyers to prioritize billable hours and profit. This is an expensive and untenable stand-off.

For what it is worth, my experience here in Australia is that lawyers are more than happy to embrace working with Allied Professionals (my preferred term for ‘support staff’ and one I see Greg Lambert uses on The Geek In Review Podcast so it cannot be all that bad) and that most lawyers now work collaboratively with all parts of the law firm to maximise the profit of the business (while adhering to the firm’s values and social contribution).

To that end, my experience has been that most lawyers know very well who is in their support team or, at minimum, know who the quarter-back is who they can chuck the ball to (Legal Project Management 1-0-1 anyone??).

In short, it is not a one man game any longer (if it ever was), it’s a team sport and views like the one expressed by BigHand above are outdated. But, as always, these are just my views.


Photo credit to krakenimages on unsplash

Air Miles

Interesting case being reported on the Law Society Gazette this week:

A former legal secretary has been barred from working in the profession following her dismissal for abuse of her employer’s air miles accounts. 

As Mitch Kowalski and I have pointed out on this thread on LinkedIn, there some interesting aspects to this case, not least of which are:

  • The secretary in question is a secretary. Not to dismiss the role secretaries play, but they are not on a roll, let alone THE roll
  • As far as I am aware, secretaries in law firms do not have a duty to the Court
  • Who owns air miles accrued while undertaking business activities (i.e., where the business is paying for the flights) would seem to be a contractual issue between an employer, its employee and the airline loyalty programme – it could well be the case that the air miles are for the use of the business, but it is equally as likely that the individual accrues the right to use the air miles. In either case, it doesn’t seem to be an issue for the regulator but for the employer – so how did we get here and how did the employer let it get here?
  • As Mitch points out, the secretary in question: “did nothing that impacted the quality of legal work, or that impacted clients.” so while the activity in question is clearly unsavoury, is it professionally reprimandable?
  • I’m interested to see, given the misconduct here is by a secretary, how this decision can be enforced? In other words, what would happen to a law firm if they hired this secretary in the future?

Every now and then you come across a case that on its bare facts doesn’t look all that interesting, but makes you scratch you head and think how can that be so? For me, this was one of those cases – so if you know anything about the system in England and Wales that allowed this case to happen, I’d be very interested to hear from you!

As usual, opinions in this post are my own – and if you have any thoughts on this, feel free to let me know.


Photo credit  Raul De Los Santos on Unsplash