January 2013

When I was a young lawyer, one of my first disputes was with a partner who asked me to proofread his brief.  Presented by the phrase “true and correct copy”, I dutifully struck the words “true and correct”.  We fought over that edit–I lost.  But I have never been willing to sign my name to that phrase.  I was just presented today with a settlement agreement that contained the phrase and my earlier encounter replayed in my mind’s eye.

Here’s the thing.  A document is either a copy or it is not.  Have you ever seen an untrue copy?  An incorrect copy? What is a true but incorrect copy? Or an untrue but correct copy?  I’ve never been able to figure that out.

Maybe you can tell–one of my pet peeves.  Sorry to burden you.

I received an email from Michael Rynowecer of BTI Consulting which provided an interesting insight. There has been a number of reports about large law firms losing market share and otherwise performing poorly.  Michael’s email reported that the BTI Client Service 30—the best—actually gained market share in 2012, and did so at competitor expense. 

But here’s the real insight:

The most impressive are the 4 firms in The BTI Client Service Hall of Fame – each of whom remain on The BTI Client Service 30 for more than 10 years – Jones Day, Morgan Lewis, Sidley Austin and Skadden all market share gainers.

The reason this note about the performance of these four firms is important is that their presence in the Hall of Fame in indicative of a culture of client service.  The importance of being market gainers is that there is financial benefit from great client service.  Clients like working with those who understand their business, the demands of their job and work to make the client’s life easier.