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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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HAL 9000, washing machines and AI in Law

Posted in Client Service, Commentary

I read this and immediately started thinking about my Saturday morning encounters with our washing machine. Walk by, put the towels in and then feed the dogs. Swing by later after grabbing morning coffee, put the towels in the dryer and put the whites in the washing machine.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  Episodic encounters with the… Continue Reading

The importance of learning what does NOT need to be done, and other things.

Posted in Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

I just read an article in Law360 discussing Microsoft’s commitment to shift 90% of its work to alternative fee arrangements.  Michael Rynowecer of BTI Consulting is quoted as saying the move is “one of the most aggressive” adoptions of AFAs he knew of. “Ninety percent is on the leading edge. It’s an enormous step; it’s… Continue Reading

Nicole Auerbach honored as one of Chicago’s most influential women lawyers

Posted in Commentary, People, Places and Blawgs, Uncategorized

Kudos to our very own Nicole Auerbach, who was recognized by Crain’s Chicago Business as one of Chicago’s Most Influential Women Lawyers.  Here is how Crain’s summarized Nicole: After concluding that the billable hour model for pricing legal services needed to change, Nicole Nehama Auerbach helped form Valorem Law Group in 2008 to give clients… Continue Reading

The importance of understanding context.

Posted in Commentary

Jeff Carr sent me a link to a post by Richard Smith of Sydney, Australia.  I don’t know Mr. Smith.  He is a “business development expert with over 20 years’ experience.” He works to develop and implement “successful business strategies for leading professional services firms; including working closely with stakeholders to maximise revenue potential from… Continue Reading

Valorem recognized as Leading Core Firm and Leading Recommended Firm for Manufacturing Industry

Posted in Commentary, General

I am honored to report that “Clients recognize Valorem Law Group for its unparalleled client relationships in the brand new BTI Industry Power Rankings 2017: The Law Firms with the Best Client Relationships in 18 Industries.”  Specifically, “clients rank Valorem Law Group a Leading Core Firm for the Manufacturing Industry, among the top 15% of… Continue Reading

Space can make you more creative

Posted in Commentary, General

Not outer space.  No, the point is that the space you meet in, the space you operate in, or the space you interact with people in can make you more creative.  Everyone has been to a conference in a hotel ballroom, right.  Mind-numbing. Plain.  Boring.  The space sucks the very life out of you.  We… Continue Reading

Is your firm filled with open-minded people?

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Leadership and Management

Pedantic is defined as “narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned a pedantic insistence that we follow the rules exactly” and “unimaginative, dull.” You’ll see in a minute why I began with this definition. I read an interesting article in today’s Chicago Tribune on the signs of greatness in companies.  One of the key signs is… Continue Reading

Vanilla. Tastes good, but it’s a bad way to market.

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, General, Uncategorized

If you spend any time reading law firm websites, you soon come to one conclusion: all of them were written by the same person.  We know this because all law firms say the same things–best schools, best lawyers, client-focused, great client serviced, alternative fees, focused, collaborative, efficient, blah, blah, blah.  Some websites use more words… Continue Reading

The quality of your questions determines the quality of the answers.

Posted in Client Service, Client Surveys and Audits, Commentary

Back in January, I copied a portion of an article that provided a list of questions lawyers should ask themselves. It was an interesting list of questions, but I was struck by how the wording of the questions could cause lawyers to avoid taking a sufficiently critical look at themselves.  I have been unable to… Continue Reading

Discovery by boilerplate. Can we end it?

Posted in Commentary, General

I have long hated boilerplate objections, which frequently are made to “kick the can” down the road. That is, if you object to a request are “unduly burdensome” or “overbroad,” you can avoid answering for now and have more time to figure out what the answer is. Or maybe your opponent will forget about the… Continue Reading

BigLaw: Another step in a relentless, vicious circle

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Hourly Rates and Alternatives

When lost in the desert or a thick forest terrains devoid of landmarks people tend to walk in circles. Blindfolded people show the same tendency; lacking external reference points, they curve around in loops as tight as 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter, all the while believing they are walking in straight lines. Livescience.com This… Continue Reading

Dream big. Why not?

Posted in Commentary, General

As a young boy, I vividly remember following Bobby Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. Like his brother Jack, Bobby was greatly admired in my Irish-American household. His death was met with great sadness. I sat riveted during Teddy’s eulogy, and my mind was seized when he said this: As he said many times, in many parts of… Continue Reading

An example of where elite businesses go, but law firms fear to tread

Posted in Commentary, General

The title is simple enough: success = experimentation.  Here is Peter Diamandis’ thesis: Today’s most successful companies, the ones that are “crushing it,” started as a series of crazy ideas, followed by experiments to test just how viable those ideas might be. Experimentation is a crucial mechanism for driving breakthroughs in any organization. If you… Continue Reading

Econ 101: If you increase expenses more than you increase revenue, profits will be lower

Posted in Commentary, Leadership and Management

You just can’t make this stuff up.  A recent ABA Journal article, Some law firm leaders question associate pay hikes amid tepid year, caught my eye. The Peer Monitor report stated: Firms were squeezed by a perfect storm of slumping demand and rising headcount. The ABA Journal article reports: The economic forces have led some… Continue Reading

GE, like McDonalds, is outsourcing some corporate functions. How soon before it happens with law departments?

Posted in Commentary, Trends and Innovations

My last post recounted McDonalds’ creation of its own ad agency and posited the question whether bespoke law firms could be far behind.  Enter GE.  Yes, that GE. According to CFO.com, GE is transferring about 600 of its tax professionals to PwC: Reacting to what it sees as increasing uncertainty about tax rules in the… Continue Reading

McDonalds creates its own ad agency. Can bespoke law firms be far behind?

Posted in Client Service, Commentary, Trends and Innovations

Several years ago, I was part of a proposal to a large tech company to create a custom, build-to-suit, build-to-serve law firm to handle the company’s IP work.  The company showed interest, but ultimately it was too big a leap to make. That was then.  Crain’s Chicago Business is reporting today on an ad created… Continue Reading