- Understands Client’s Business
- Advising on Business Issues
- Client Focus
- Commitment to Help
- Provides Value for the Dollar
- Innovative Approach
- Handles Problems
- Meets Core Scope
We are deeply honored to have been selected to this honor for the sixth time. Being recognized by BTI is especially gratifying because firms have no ability to influence their selection. BTI asks clients to identify firms and why the client names them. There is no leading question, no pay to play. The recognition is based on client input and nothing else. Needless to say, we are extremely grateful to our clients for recognizing us for what we do.
In just a month, Valorem will celebrate its 10th anniversary. When we were designing the firm, we ignored the way lawyers had done things for basically ever and instead look at the service that lawyers needed to provide from the vantage point of a client. If something in the design process could not be linked to client service and client delight, we did not do it. We are best known for use of AFAs (well, they used to be alternatives, now, not so much), but we focused on other things. We did not want to carry an army of young associates to do document review. So we designed our firm to work well with document review professionals and disaggregated the work. We focused on project management and process improvement to become more efficient (meaning, creating outputs using less time, not the way other law firms measure efficiency). We invested in technology, not big offices. We rewarded people for our successes instead of high base salaries. We created an advisory board made of up of clients and leading thinkers in the profession and asked them to help us continuously improve. We designed a model that rewarded experience instead of law school graduation date.
And, yes, we tackled the 800 lb gorilla that stultifies more firm efforts to provide great client service and stands as an insurmountable barrier to real innovation—partner compensation. For us, the best way to have all partners look past their own interests and focus on our clients’ interests was to eliminate the “own interest” barrier. So our compensation model was not based on business generation or any other individual statistic. We decided that, absent unusual circumstances, each partner would earn the same amount. The only way to earn more was for all us to earn more, and we would only all earn more if our clients were thrilled and paid our discretionary bonuses. Or we earned bonuses because of great results. You want to see what great collaboration looks like? Make sure people have a meaningful incentive to succeed.
So as we look back, we can be proud that we did a lot of things right, and that our clients have been so supportive of our efforts. But as we spend a moment appreciating what we have done, we are more mindful than ever that the pace of change is accelerating to an unimaginable pace. And while change is a four letter word for most lawyers, we love living change in the fast lane and look forward to an even more eventful next decade.