Legal clients are different from buyers in other industries. They are often lawyers themselves and experts in their own right. They have different expectations from their providers and often have exceptionally high standards when it comes to who they choose to give their business to.
Legal service providers also have a different relationship with their clients compared to other industries. As a legal counsel, they encompass the role of client relationship holder, project manager, and (in the case of partners) that of the business owner too.
We've pulled together insights from General Counsel's, in both the UK and the US, as well as through constantly listening to our own network, to understand how to help lawyers better serve their clients, here's our summary of 5 things clients need from their lawyers:
1. Be someone they want to work with
The legal environment is high stress, its important that when the chips are down you are a person they want on their team. Displaying your personality in an authentic and helpful way lends confidence to clients who will be relying on you in difficult situations.
2. Don't blow your own trumpet
Awards, a place on the legal 500 and an impressive client list are important in establishing credibility but ultimately are less important than some might think. In the words of one GC from a multi-billion-dollar company;
"Unfortunately, the supplier followed this up with talk of all the great work they had done in the past and all the awards they’d won. Awards and recognition is a good stamp of trust and competency - but buyers only need to see that once."
Ultimately its what you will do for the client you are talking to now that matters.
3. Make their problem your problem
Whether they need a specialist or someone that can see the bigger picture, clients need to see that you understand the particular issue that they are facing. Firms can lose their chance to work for a client at any stage in the acquisition process.
As a client is building a list of suppliers, narrowing down their options and making a final selection - you need to be demonstrating an understanding of their industry, their clients and their challenges at every step.
4. Send them 'Snackable' authentic content - concise + relevant
Your clients are busy, they can wade through legal whitepapers and case law. But they shouldn't have to, that's what they pay you for.
Short, regular and personalised content pieces delivered by your lawyer develop the relationship and let them know you are the experts that are keeping on top of things for them.
5. Show depth and diversity in your organisation
Show your clients that there is a diverse wider team ready to help them makes your firm a safer, more relevant option for them. Don't just say you have a great team, show that and show the range of expertise and insight that each person brings to the table.
Your people need to be seen and need to be representative of your clients and your client's clients.
Ultimately, what we have found is that the process needs to be consistent and firmwide and as a general consensus, individuals (clients) want to hear more regular insight and expertise from their lawyers.