Ed Poll of LawBizBlog and LawBiz Management has been advising lawyers for 25 years.  Ed is one of the people I look to regularly for ideas and inspiration.  His recent post, Corporate Counsel Want Value, frames an important question.   The post discusses comments by Susan Hackett of the Association of Corporate Counsel about ACC’s Value Challenge.  Ed writes:

The "Value Index" being developed by ACC is intended to measure, among other things, client satisfaction with the services provided by their outside counsel. The concept is that of a scorecard, not a ranking. Defining "value" will be a difficult task. Ultimately, the definition may have to be left to the respondent. ("Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.")

Yesterday, I was discussing Valorem’s approach to alternative fee arrangements with counsel from a large law firm.  One arrangement, indeed our preferred arrangement, is fixed fee with a holdback, where we leave the payment of the holdback to the client’s discretion based on their satisfaction with our work.  In this conversation, as well as others, I hear a sense of something ranging from amazement to incredulity to a belief that we are out of our minds. 

Let me respond to the doubters.  Value, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  We are in a service profession.  If cannot adapt what we do to satisfy each consumer of our service, we are missing the whole point of being service providers.  The key to quality service is the ability to detect that which each client wants and the ability and flexibility to adapt what you do and how you do it to deliver the customized service needed to satisfy and please.