It’s Not Just About the Fees

There is a lot of talk in corporate counsel circles these days about how to get value from outside firms. The ACC Value Challenge and the ACC Value Index are bringing the issue to center stage at law firms that serve a significant number corporate clients. And it is not just about lowering legal fees or even creating alternatives to hourly billing (though both of those can be part of the value equation).

On a related note, I attended an interesting panel discussion on Thursday night featuring four corporate counsel. It was the opening session of the regional meeting of the New England Chapter of the Legal Marketing Association. The issue of value came up a lot and interestingly enough, none of the panelists equated lowest price with best value. Instead, panelists encouraged law firms to invest in their relationship with outside counsel (and understand that in this environment, your competitors are calling your clients).

A big take away of the session for me was the tremendous importance of conducting client surveys. Have someone who is not the relationship partner meet with the client and get the client talking. Perhaps it will turn out that everything is copacetic. But more likely than not, you will learn important information about your relationship with the client which will give you the opportunity to address any issues that might not have otherwise been picked up.

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