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In Search of Perfect Client Service Why lawyers don't seem to get it

Category Archives: Commentary

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Lead change or hang on for dear life

Posted in Commentary

Change is.  Years ago, many people debated whether the legal industry was changing.  Truth be told, the debate was silly.  Change is.  The only question is the speed of change.  It used to be slow.  It took years to move from fountain pens to ball point pens, from wet copy machines to dry, and so… Continue Reading

“Be in the space you want to be in.”

Posted in Commentary

My friend John Chisholm sent me an article on why diversity programs in law firms are failing. (Talk about a small world–An Aussie sending an article from a Canadian publication to a guy in Chicago!)  The article includes this quote, from a Stanford Law White Paper: These broader problems are complex and multifaceted, and have… Continue Reading

Solving the High Cost of Litigation, Valorem style

Posted in Commentary, Trends and Innovations

Litigation costs too much. Why? Because it is overburdened with process and tolerated but unnecessary excess.  And who benefits from the focus on process and needless discovery and motion practice? Lawyers.  Who designs the processes and rules for discovery?  Lawyers. And who benefits economically from this focus on rules and process? Lawyers. Lawyers are the… Continue Reading

Clear writing makes a difference

Posted in Commentary, General

Clear writing makes a difference. For the skeptic, we now have proof. Using 50 readability measures, the study’s authors found that by a huge amount, a more readable, easy to understand brief is more likely to prevail over a less readable brief. So what is clear writing? For me, it means avoiding adjectives. Adjectives are… Continue Reading

Some thoughts on the importance of word choices

Posted in Commentary, General

I feel like I am under assault. From CNN: Somebody else, who has never shown any regard for workers, has never fought on behalf of social justice issues … they don’t suddenly become a populist because they say something controversial in order to win votes,” Obama said. “That’s not a measure of populism. That’s nativism,… Continue Reading

AFAs are finally catching on, but so much more is possible

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

Michael Rynowecer of BTI Consulting had a great, must-read post today on his Mad Clientist blog. In the post, which I strongly recommend, Michael makes these points: Spending on AFAs is way up—nearly 20% CAGR over 4 years Outside counsel spend under AFAs jumped to over 35% Almost 70% of companies The reported savings from… Continue Reading

A special note of thanks to our clients

Posted in Commentary

I wrote my first blog post on April 10, 2005, and I have published 968 posts since then.  To be candid, not all of the posts related to client service issues, the blog’s name notwithstanding.  But a good many of the posts have addressed client service.  It has been a passion of mine since long… Continue Reading

Is the time coming when an innovative Law Department will custom design its law firm?

Posted in Client Service, Commentary

Most complain that their law firms are not meeting their needs. Some law departments bring work in-house.  Some change law firms.  But the problems persist. Outside the law department, companies solve this kind of problem by creating a solution. Often, the company’s engineers work with a willing vendor to find the right solution. Is the… Continue Reading

A man hears what he wants to hear…

Posted in Commentary

I am sure Simon and Garfunkel never thought their lyrics would find their way into the law (this line has been used by judges in their opinions, so I am not breaking new ground) but when a line fits so perfectly, it is hard not to use it.  In August, I wrote a New Normal… Continue Reading

The Noise of Client Service

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, General

I wrote a series on Signal and Noise here, here and here.  The problem clients confront is that most law firms look and sound alike.  When we started Valorem in 2008, no one was talking about alternative fees, no one was offering alternative fees and the world, by and large, thought we were crazy.  Now,… Continue Reading

Forbes: 5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable

Posted in Commentary

Here’s just a flavor for the reasons the author provides in this must-read article: Disrespectful: Being on time is about respect. It signals that you value and appreciate the other person. If you don’t respect the meeting’s participants, why are you meeting with them in the first place? Inconsiderate: Unintentionally being late demonstrates an overall… Continue Reading

ValoremNext presents Jeff Carr discussing the value of prevention. Join us in Houston.

Posted in Client Communications, Client Service, Commentary

  If you want to learn how a prevention program can help a law department add value to its company (with metrics), join us in Houston on October 28 at 5:30.  Jeff Carr will present his experience with prevention and the value it creates for law departments and their companies. Details can be found at… Continue Reading

Do in-house lawyers care less about second opinions than people who don’t care about second opinions?

Posted in Client Communications, Client Service, Commentary

50% of Americans do not get second opinions for important medical diagnoses. 30% of the time the second opinion causes changes in the diagnosis or treatment. Do the math. I don’t know the data on what percentage of in-house lawyers get second opinions about a strategy.  But I bet it’s pretty darn small.  I  have… Continue Reading

Every assertion of client ownership weakens a firm

Posted in Commentary

“It’s my client.”  “I get the billings.” Even the magnanimous say, “I”ll share the billings.”  In court, you often hear lawyers refer to “my client.” Each own of these assertions of ownership weakens everyone involved. Most lawyers believe it strengthens them, especially in any intramural fighting over control and billing.  It doesn’t.  Everyone knows. Saying… Continue Reading

Litigators: What’s your story?

Posted in Commentary, General, Uncategorized

Trial lawyers see a case as a story.  They are constantly thinking about the story and why the jury should care about it. Litigators see a case as a series of motions and briefs, depositions and documents. The stuff litigators see as the point of a case is just a road to the end.