Embarrassing Networkinging Stories & Tips For Law Firm Managers Looking To Increase Business

Is your firm considering membership in a law firm network? If you’re already a member, how can your firm achieve more value through your participation?

Formal legal networks, such as Lex Mundi/World Services Group, have long been viewed as advantageous for independent law firms seeking to (1) extend global reach, (2) increase business opportunities, and (3) gain a competitive edge.

But are they worth the cost of membership?

Some firms don’t think so, yet many swear by the enhanced credibility and referrals that membership brings.

But whether your firm is looking to gain clients or associates, networking is only effective if done right. Using a few examples of networking gone wrong—thanks to Intuit QuickBase’s 10 Most Embarrassing Neworking Stories—we have a few guidelines to help:

Make yourself known with a unique introduction.

The problem with networking events is that most people come away without hundreds of business cards and almost no memory of who offered them. Unfortunately, if you’re a Mike, Mark, Melissa, or Mary, common names mean you might be quickly marginalized.

This is why it’s so important to introduce yourself with an interesting anecdote. Make yourself noticed—in a good way:

“I attended a multi-day conference that provided all meals for attendees in an effort to have everyone network during said meals. Breakfast each morning was held in an area accessed by walking down a flight of stairs. I was headed down the stairs, looking into the room to see who was already at breakfast and thinking about who I might eat and chat with. I lost my footing and rolled/bounced all the way down to the breakfast area with my laptop tumbling behind me. Of course, everyone stopped eating and talking and started gasping and staring. Everyone knew who I was after that!”

A trip and fall situation may get you noticed, but for the wrong things. Try to introduce yourself in a way that get’s you remembered in a positive light. For example, if you like to rock climb in your free time, introducing yourself as the 3rd year associate who climbs rocks, characterizes you as somebody willing to take taking calculated risks. It’s also something small, but singular that other people will certainly remember.

Pay attention and remember details of other professionals.

When you’re meeting tons of professionals, sometimes it’s hard to pay attention. While somebody’s pitching themselves to you, it’s quite likely you’ve spent a few seconds dozing off, starting to thing about what’s for dinner, or becoming acutely aware how warm the room is.

Instead, be an active listener. When somebody introduces themselves, repeat their name back to them. “Hi Paul, I’m Patricia. Nice to meet you.” Or, when they mention a specific activity, follow-up with a pertinent question pertaining to it.

If you’re not good with names, don’t risk calling somebody by the wrong one. Here’s why.

“I am very bad at names. I often recognize people, but can’t remember why. I was at lunch one day with a coworker who usually works at another building, and I said to her something about how she knew So-and-So (an older portly gentleman), who was sitting at a table right next to us. She turned and looked, and said, ‘That’s not So-and-So.’ The gentleman, who had heard me, also turned and said, ‘I’m not So-and-So.’ I had mixed him up with another older, portly gentleman. I was greatly embarrassed, especially because he seemed to find the mix-up insulting. From then on out, every time I saw this guy, I made sure to say his name, repeatedly, so that he would know I knew who he was. But a year and a half later, I found out I had still been calling him by the wrong name.” 

Err on being politically correct. 

As in the previous example, it could be said that it’s best to err on being correct—don’t use a person’s name if you’re not sure of it. But, it’s definitely best to be politically correct in a room of professionals. Don’t use networking as the time to try out a new potentially offensive joke. Politics, religion, and personal trials and tribulations are always off the table.

“I signed up for a mentoring program to be matched up with a local executive. I was matched with a guy, and we went to lunch. When I let him know I was pregnant, since it might affect scheduling during the 6-month program, he let me know how much kids ruined his marriage and his wife’s career. Awesome, mentor.”

As a more experienced professional, don’t treat every younger associate as chance to pass on personal advice (that’s what grandkids are for).

Ask questions—lots of questions!

Finally, when networking, it’s important to ask lots of questions. Asking questions is a way to signal your interest in the other person, as well as a method for gathering more information about their professional expertise. Of course, like anything, it’s important to ask the right questions.

“Our bank was in the process of merging with another bank. During the merger process, all the teller managers had to attend meetings with people from other banks going through the same process… I started talking to the woman who was running the meeting. She was the equivalent of a district manager and was around my age (early 20s). I was really impressed with the fact that she was at this stage of her career at such a young age, because I was aspiring to rise to the same level. I asked her how she got started, what were her responsibilities, etc. During our talk, she mentioned how she was thinking of going back to finish up school (she said ‘school’ not ‘degree’). Stupid me asks, “Oh? High school or college?’ Thankfully she just said ‘college’ and moved the conversation to another topic. Even though she didn’t acknowledge my gaffe with so much as a blink, I still was praying a sinkhole would open up below me.” 

Whether you’re 12, 22, 32, 42 and above, referring to age is a tricky issue. If you’re at all confused about a person’s age or status, ask more roundabout questions to get at your answer. Instead of “high school or college,” in the above example (which is not as far-fetched an error as it may first appear), the networking teller should have asked, “are you looking at any specific schools?” or “how much more education would you like to get?”

When it comes to age, never make assumptions.

Networking can be a great tool for law firms and attorneys to meet new clients or hire new talent. However, first impressions are powerful. Make sure your firm’s representatives are well versed in the basics of holding productive conversations.

Need some more concrete advice about how your firm and its associates can start to network productively? Take C4CM’s webinar, “Maximizing Legal Networks to Build Relationships, Increase Business and Expand Firm Reach,” on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern.

This information-packed webinar led by a power-house panel of experts offers step by step guidance surrounding:

  • Potential advantages and disadvantages of legal network membership,
  • Best practices for choosing a network that best fits your firm’s goals and objectives, and
  • Practical methods to get your money’s worth once your firm signs on the dotted line. 

During this comprehensive program, you will learn:

  • How to increase the volume and quality of inbound and outbound referrals
  • Ways to get the most value for your association/network spend
  • How to use network membership to build better working relationships and win clients
  • Global advantages and disadvantages for firms as members of legal networks
  • How to retain your firm’s brand distinction, while maximizing broader branding opportunities


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Be Your Firm’s Rising Star (& Firm Productivity Tips)

If opportunity knocks—let it in! But for the rest of your work days, which seem to drag on, there are only the opportunities you make for yourself.

We’re told to be obsessed with productivity. On Wednesday, the height of the week, it’s easy to be obsessed with productivity. But Fridays, well, that’s another story.

But, what can we do specifically at law firms to improve productivity? Set the mood. Shut the door. Play calming music. Set a timer and work in 15-minute increments to keep totally focused.

At least, those are among the suggestions in an article by Forbes, “Five Ways To Be Amazing At Work,” by Steve Siebold, a corporate consultant and author of 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class.

Productivity is often about time management. Allocate a certain amount of time to a task and then disconnect. Unplug the phone and put “do not disturb” on your office door. The fewer interruptions the better the creative flow.

The second step to being amazing at work is to solve problems says Siehold.

This is an easy one. At work, keep a running tally of problems at the firm and within case matters. Create a two-column page with one side “problems” and the other “solutions.” It’s amazing how such a short exercise can go a long way in solving problems with law firm management practices or with cases in particular.

Third, take risks. For law firms, this isn’t necessarily the best advice. Of course, risk taking can pay off. But, it can also backfire. Luckily, there’s a simple adjective that can solve this problem. Take calculated risks.

And, take calculated risks on people. Give young associates a chance to shine.

“The great ones never play it safe when it comes to leading their teams through change, knowing their job is to serve as a guide and coach,” writes Siehold. 

Fourth, have a strong work ethic.

For lawyers, it’s important to have a strong ethic in general. Don’t forget the right and wrong of cases you’re trying to win. Dedication to your work and believing in its ethic will go a long way to increasing your passion and productivity.

Finally, find a coach. For law firms, a coach should be a mentor, whether it’s a senior associate or law firm partner. Mentorship is an important part of the law.

“If a person works hard and gets a pay check he has a job. But if a person works hard, gets a pay check, and learns a new skill, she has a career,” writes Joseph Folkman for the HBR Blog in the article, “Are You Creating Disgruntled Employees?

In any business, it pays to let people make mistakes. And, if you establish a mentorship program, it’s likely your firm will gradually see less and less of them.

With proper training, your employees can learn to communicate and cope–with confidence–during moments of both success and failure. Not to mention that, in the future, your firm will gain good leaders and good lawyers.

For more ideas about how to increase productivity at your firm, take C4CM’s audio course, “The Productive, Profitable Law Firm: How Agile & Lean Practices Can Reduce Costs, Increase Quality and Grow Profits,” on Thursday, February 11, 2016, from 2:00 PM Eastern to 3:15 Eastern.

In addition to real-life examples of how firms have used Lean/Agile methodologies to improve efficiency, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and analyze your firm’s processes, and make incremental process improvements that can improve your bottom line
  • Develop methods to complete routine tasks quickly
  • Identify the bottlenecks that cause delays
  • Use ‘Increments’ and ‘iterations’ for improved legal productivity
  • Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that your firm should be examining (beyond billable hours)


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When Winter Storms Wreak Havoc On Employee Commute, Why Law Firms Don’t Have To Suffer

This weekend into Monday, the New England area underwent a bombogenesis… now there’s a term you don’t see everyday.

The term generally refers to a storm whose minimum pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, according to meteorologists; in layman’s words? The storm was really strong and rapidly intensifying!

Snow and strong winds were proof of the bombogenesis that bombarded most of New England yesterday. Winter Storm Mars created blizzard conditions in a large part of Massachusetts, covering the city of Orleans with 10 inches of snowfall. However, Mars did not spare other States of its tempest, hitting Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine.

New York’s JFK Airport cancelled 50 flights; LaGuardia airport cancelled more than 300 flights; and airports and Boston and New Jersey faced extensive delays and cancellations, according to FlightAware.com.

Hundreds of public schools were cancelled on Friday and Connecticut alone witnessed 258 car crashes. If your daily commute was already slow, let’s face it, Friday and Monday were the worst.

All these reasons and more are why your firm should pay for your employees’ commute. When it’s cold or stormy outside, the last thing employees want to do is head to the office. In fact, the winter months most employees would pay to stay in bed.

But, with the right incentives, your firm can attract happy, productive associates to your benefit.

Retain the employees you value most.

Between heavy snowfall and gas prices, employees find it difficult to justify a long commute to work. What was once an easy freeway drive for 45 minutes can now cost employees as much as $20 extra per day.

The ability to live in safe, cheap suburb, coupled by the additional time necessary to drive to work is enough to drive away your best talent.

In order to retain the employees you value most, offer to pay their commute to work. It serves as real-money savings as well as good-will gesture.

Move your office to cheaper real estate.

If your firm is headed into the black, it may be time to move house. But finding more affordable real estate may lead to a loss in willing workers.

With the right location, the difference in rent should more than cover an offer to pay employee commuter costs.

Changing offices could be just what the doctor ordered to revive your ailing accounting. Travel stipends will limit the internal grumbling.

Incentivize your employees to work weekends.

Snowday Friday? Schools cancelled? No problem. Close up shop and move meetings to Saturday. Have the firm pick up the tab for food and transport. Friday can be spent with the kids who are home from school and Saturday will make up for lost time on the company dime. That’s something employees can stomach.

Allow the occasional telecommuting.

Bringing home proprietary or confidential client information is a real concern. It’s why a lot of firms force employees to be at the office for all casework. In these instances, use transport stipends to substitute for telecommuting options.

Provide monetary compensation—and get creative—for traveling to and from the office with extra dispensation for rush hour, after-hours, or weekends.

At the same time, understand that some weather-related (or child-related) emergencies just can’t be helped. Don’t throw a fuss when employees call out for the occasional telecommute.

Forbidding telecommuting totally will likely be ill-received by your staff.

Find a reason for hope (and savings) to transform snow days into productive, morale-raising days. Your firm, and its employees, can benefit equally from seasonal changes and tropical storms.


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Popping Pills: America’s Worst Epidemic & Legally Addressing The Misuse Of Prescription Drugs At Work

Although the United States makes up about 5 percent of the world’s population, it consumes more than 75 percent of the world’s prescription drugs, according to the 2011 UN World Drug Report. This statistic may bring up a few names from your childhood: Elvis Presley, Jim Morrison, Judy Garland; or, more recently, Michael Jackson, Health Ledger, Chris Farley.

But, famous actors and singers are not the only victims of prescription drug abuse. It’s the 16-year old student who got addicted to pain pills after a surgery, the suburban father mixing a dangerous cocktail of painkillers and tranquilizers, or a Michigan mother hooked on her daughter’s Adderall prescription.

A new documentary takes a sobering look at what some call America’s worst epidemic. Prescription drug addiction affects men, women and children of all walks of life. Called “’Prescription Thugs”, this movie is director Chris Bell’s follow-up to his last documentary, “Bigger, Stronger, Faster,” which showed the harrowing role of performance-enhancing drugs in sports.

“The subject kind of picked me,” explains Bell to FoxNews.com’s Dr. Manny Alvarez.

“My older brother died from a prescription drug, basically, an overdose—his body gave out from all the prescription drugs he was doing. I wanted to find some answers why that happened to him.”

At risk of revealing spoilers, at one point Bell reveals his own silent struggle with prescription painkiller addiction.

“I was never an addict, I was never addicted to anything. I was always somebody who was into sports. I was a power lifter… I was excited to go to the gym every day,” Bell said.

“But once I was hurt, and on these painkillers, everything started going slowly in reverse.”

But seeking help is not easy. At one point, Bell was taking up to 20 to 30 pain pills per day before he considered reaching out.

“It’s something that you have to come to terms with yourself, it’s something that you have to want to quit and want to get off of,” Bell said.

Prescription drug abuse is the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem and is now classified as an epidemic by the CDC. As many as 52 million Americans, over the age of 12, have used prescription drugs non-medically in their lifetime. Even more shocking, 1 million people have used them non-medically in the past month.

The use and abuse of medications in the workplace is a serious issue. Yet unlike illicit drugs, for which most U.S. employers can test easily and legally, prescription medications present a number of challenges to organizations.

For one, the mere presence of these substances in a drug test does not necessarily constitute an offense, unlike with illegal drugs. And many employees using these medications are protected by the ADA, which limits an organization’s ability to question its employees’ use of such drugs.

This is a thorny area, where federal (ADA and FMLA) and state laws collide. Unfortunately, most employers do not have the fortitude and risk tolerance to enter the storm, even when they know it’s a major liability.

Like Bell and his own addiction, awareness is often the first step. Protect your employees—and your firm’s liability—by taking The Center For Competitive Management’s webinar, “Popping Pills: Legally Addressing Employee Use & Misuse of Prescription Medications in the Workplace,” on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 from 2:00 PM to 3:15 PM Eastern.

This online course explores best practice strategies for handling this challenging situation both tactfully and legally. You’ll also get the answers to such need-to-know questions as:

  • How should employers address the use of prescription medications by employees in their drug and alcohol policies (if at all)?
  • What should an employer do if an employee cannot perform the job safely while using prescription medications?
  • Can employers conduct drug testing for prescription medications and what are the pitfalls of doing so?
  • What are an employer’s obligations when employees become addicted to prescription medications?
  • Can employees be drug tested periodically after completing drug rehabilitation?
  • Should medical marijuana be treated like other prescription medications?
  • Must employers tolerate the use of medical or recreational marijuana in the states where it is legal?

“It’s tough, it’s a disease where it’s a behavior problem… it’s a brain chemistry problem… and the only way to fix it is to work on those behaviors and sort of modify those behaviors,” explains Bell.

Like people, a law firm firm must acknowledge what’s at stake before it can seek help. Make that happen for your employees today.



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Law Firm Pricing Strategy, Customer Satisfaction & Happy Meals

McDonald’s is making the blog twice this week. Why? Because law firm associates have a lot more to learn from Happy Meals than just a mood change.

McDonald’s is experiencing its first revenue and stock market bump in years. Why? It gives its customers the power to create.

The true (burger) king of the market has been very successful with the “Happy Meal.” McDonald’s was the first to massively market collectable prizes in kids meals and other meal deal options. The restaurant’s colorful menu offers a variety of food combinations that can be changed and created to match customer preference. Now, the restaurant chain is even allowing customers to mix and match meals—breakfast for dinner? Burger for breakfast? It’s all up to you.

Feeling hungry? Let’s take a bite out of our next business plan at Apple. The iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad product suite and computer systems are all about customization in terms of specs, features, and even color. You create your own Macbook down to the exact amount of RAM, and can even engrave an epithet on your 64G iPod.

Finally, forget food; let’s go back to law firms. You try and you try and you try to appease your associates and clients. But there’s still frustration on both sides. In a mere one hundred and twenty words, Ben Young, author of The Best Ideas Are Free, can give you some satisfaction. Young claims better business management, ironically, means eliminating just that. Stop managing, and start creating.

Today in the business world, Young says, “We’re not creating physical things, new products, ideas, development. We’re maintaining, reporting… not making actual change.” To garner the super-sized success seen in the world’s most profitable companies, we must make the switch from managing to creating.

“Constantly creating, curating & connecting ideas is what you want to do, create your systems so they generate.”

3 Geeks And A Law Blog applied Young’s idea to Knowledge Management. Knowledge Management at a law firm generally indicates Document Management systems, such as the full-text search of documents, descriptive fields, classifications, and filter options.

The blog asks, “What are they actually doing? Are they simply siloing information in a way to retrieve bits and pieces? Or, are they creating interfaces that allows the customer (whether it is Attorneys, Marketing, Business Development, or Client Relations) to really create the information they want?”

Case management systems are also too sterile. For example, West Case Notebook and Timeline—typical of case analysis software—does not allow any changes to the number or name of sorting fields. If your client, witness, or expert has more than one address, email, or other piece of information attached to his name, attorneys have no recourse.

Additionally, of the software suite, only West Timeline synchs with MS Excel. Even then, information from West Timeline cannot be reverse imported into West Case Notebook. The point is: Knowledge Management and Document Management systems are still stagnant and limited. Within these systems, an attorney can rarely create. Only assemble.

There’s another hidden message in Young’s idea that begs the question, why can’t the client create, too? We discuss alternative fee arrangements a lot these days. However, these conversations focus on what the law firm can offer its clients. Instead, law firms should implement systems that allow the client, himself, to choose his fee arrangement. As when a customer logs into the Jeep website and chooses the chassis, color, and drive system of his vehicle, a client looking for a law firm should be able to shop around and create his ideal type of representation.

By selecting from a list of options—a certain fee arrangement, retainer agreement, or the number and billable hour of attorneys on the case—clients will become less frustrated with sizeable attorney fees. There will be no surprises. After all, the client created the contract.

Young concludes, “I triple double guarantee that anytime you start to get sick of something, it’s because you’ve stopped creating.”

Leave the stomach aches for fast food, and let your associates and your clients have creative control. You may be surprised at the increased satisfaction and retention levels of both.

How much detail should your firm share? Is sharing a profitable marketing practice, or will it cut into your firm’s bottom line? All your specific questions can be answered by a panel of experts at The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course:

Learn more at, “How to Use Pricing Metrics to Win and Keep Legal Clients,” on Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 2:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Pricing is one of the most important factors in a client’s decision-making process when choosing a law firm. Failure to understand the clients’ often unspoken requirements perpetuates pricing shortcomings and lowers profitability.

  • During this information-packed webinar, you will learn:
  • Why pricing must be a part of your marketing strategy,
  • How to use the metrics you already have, and
  • Steps to align pricing strategy with your firm’s broader strategic objectives. 


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All-Day Breakfast At McDonald’s Feeds Profits & Law Firm Management Strategies

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And with a sudden turnaround in the fourth quarter, McDonald’s can’t help but agree.

In October, McDonald’s announced it would finally be selling all-day breakfast, feeding both people and its profits.

“Finally” because consumers have been demanding breakfast after 10:30 a.m. pretty much since the inception of the McMuffin.

“This is the consumers’ idea. This is what they want us to do,” McDonald’s president Michael Andres told the Wall Street Journal (via Slate).

“That’s why I think this could be the catalyst for our turnaround.”

Call Andres a prophet for profit because it certainly was a turnaround. McDonald’s had been suffering losses since 2013. In fact, it suffered a huge decline in 2014 when its stock took a loss of 3.3 percent, reports CNN Money.

Today, a survey by market researchers NDP found that the move to offer all-day breakfast was “luring in new and lapsed customers,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Thanks to these new and old customers, sales have soared at McD’s, rising 5.7 percent by the end of 2015.

Why did McDonald’s hesitate so long? It’s possible that the restaurant chain feared breakfast menu would cannibalize sales from its more expensive lunch and dinner items. Burgers, on average, are pricier than breakfast menu items.

However, what McDonald’s did not achieve—up until now—was completely satisfying their customers. Listening to customer demand almost certainly brought back loyal patrons, but also attracted a new type of client—the all-day breakfast diner-type.

It’s a reminder to law firms not only to listen to their clients, but to consider the idea of encouraging a boost of smaller sales in the grand scheme of the bottom line.

Although low-yield clients may not seem like the most efficient way to earn profits, they can get you through the tough times. Think about taking on additional, smaller clients while business is slow instead of waiting for that shark-sized bite of a case. Like a line out the door at McD’s, keeping busy sends a positive signal to both associates and clients alike that your attorneys are practiced, experienced, and in-demand. This then raises your appeal to higher-paying customers.

An increased average revenue may be due to volume, not quality of case matter, but—in the end—does that matter? You may find that an uptick in small cases keeps your legal assistants busier, not your high-billing attorneys.

Support staff are often able to handle discovery, transform case management, and play a critical role in assisting attorneys. Moving forward may mean carving a new future for legal secretaries, technology, and management—to the advantage of all.

Take a tip from McDonald’s menu to increase your bottom line (and probably your belt).

Looking for more ideas to grow profits?

Take The Center for Competitive Management’s audio course online, “The Productive, Profitable Law Firm: How Agile & Lean Practices Can Reduce Costs, Increase Quality and Grow Profits,” on Thursday, February 11, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. Eastern to 3:15 p.m. Eastern.

Savvy firms are implementing Lean/Agile methodologies to reduce costs, improve quality and speed turnaround time for legal matters. In order for your law firm to start building a profitable, scalable business, you need to understand and get a handle on its systems and processes.

During this power-packed webinar, you’ll get step-by-step instructions for improving legal processes through systematic identification of workflow inefficiencies; prioritization of process improvements, and elimination of process inefficiencies.

In addition to real life examples of how firms have used Lean/Agile methodologies to improve efficiency, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and analyze your firm’s processes, and make incremental process improvements that can improve your bottom line
  • Develop methods to complete routine tasks quickly
  • Identify the bottlenecks that cause delays
  • Use ‘Increments’ and ‘iterations’ for improved legal productivity
  • Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that your firm should be examining (beyond billable hours)

Bon Appétit!

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Discount On Aisle Affidavit? How to Use Pricing Metrics to Win and Keep Legal Clients

This month at CVS, ExtraCare savings include $0.50 off Dove Chocolate Dipped Fruit, $0.25 off 1-gallon of milk, and $2.00 off Alkaline Batteries—discounts that keep going and going.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same percent off attorneys’ fees, or coupons for half-price on your next court case

According to a recent ethics opinion, apparently you can.

The American Bar Association (ABA) declared that ethics these discount deals may be structured in two ways:

  • First, in coupon deals, a lawyer can sell a $25 coupon, for example, at a 50 percent discount on up to five hours of legal services. 
  • Second, in prepaid deals, a lawyer can charge $500 for up to five hours of legal service, a value of $1,000.

If the money is collected up front by the marketing organization—along with some information—than there’s no problem.

Nevertheless, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility warns about these coupon deals, stating in Formal Opinion 465:

“The committee has identified numerous difficult issues associated with prepaid deals, especially how to properly manage payment of advance legal fees, and is less certain that prepaid deals can be structured to comply with all ethical and professional obligations under the Model Rules.”

It’s not just the ABA that’s concerned.

Lawyers are also concerned that price equals value—that clients will believe the quality of services rendered were as low as the bill for them. Lawyers suspect clients will become accustomed discounting and will eventually refuse to pay full-price for attorney’s fees or choose alternative representation in the event these fees rise.

However, discounting can be an important strategy for attracting new clients or retaining old ones in a competitive market. With an overabundance of attorneys today, this type of corporate strategy of price differentiation is key.

Luckily for lawyers, however, times are looking up and fees are going up with them.

According to a Law Watch Managing Partner Confidence Index survey, confidence in the broader economic, and particularly in business conditions for the legal profession, has increased.

“A lot of the discounting pressure that we’ve seen over the course of a number of years now, post-recession, has been driven by the fact that there’s not enough legal work to go around,” explains Citi senior client adviser Gretta Rusanow to The AmLaw Daily.

“So, where firms have excess capacity, they are more inclined to discount their fees in an effort to keep their lawyers busy.”

Increased confidence in the market is a good sign for lawyers.

In the end, whether you firm decides to discount or not, managers should emphasize the following to clients:

1. Evidence of the value

Have a new client one-page summary sheet that lists your firm’s case wins, satisfied client testimonials, and the profiles of your qualified employees. Provide a short cost-benefit analysis that shows your fees are appropriate, as well as important to stave off the possibility of higher costs in the future.

2. Consistency in work product

Consistency equates to quality. Provide regular case matter updates, personal and electronic communication, and billing. Clients are less upset by invoices that they are already expecting.

3. Confidence in the future

Increased confidence about the market or the future of the field of law is good news on the whole. But, retaining confidence in the high quality of your practice will also help your firm retain its clients.

The economy is uncertain. But, with comprehensive and confident work on a client’s case, your performance doesn’t have to be. Even if your clients are coupon-cutting, a law firm’s value is created by a rock-solid reputation, time-proven results, and high human capital—not simply the price tag.

The advent of pricing managers at law firms has created a bevy of metrics on cost and profitability, and savvy clients want to see it!

How much detail should your firm share? Is sharing a profitable marketing practice, or will it cut into your firm’s bottom line? Our panel of experts will address these questions, and more during this practical pricing event.

Pricing is one of the most important factors in a client’s decision-making process when choosing a law firm. Failure to understand the clients’ often unspoken requirements perpetuates pricing shortcomings and lowers profitability.

Take C4CM’s course, “How to Use Pricing Metrics to Win and Keep Legal Clients,” on Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 2:00 PM Eastern.

  • During this information-packed webinar, you will learn: 
  • Why pricing must be a part of your marketing strategy,
  • How to use the metrics you already have, and
  • Steps to align pricing strategy with your firm’s broader strategic objectives.

The course includes:

  • How to set cost and profit objectives, and determine what value customers perceive in your product and how willing are they to pay for it?
  • Ways to include competitors and similar products in the pricing mix, and structure accordingly
  • How top firms are tracking and sharing data in a manner that satisfies client needs
  • Explanation of how clients use price as an indicator of quality
  • Methods your firm can use to make sure data drives the right kinds of discussions
  • Why more firms are engaging in rate negotiations for pricing of individual pitches and proposals

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