Welcome to the Client Service Issue

Volume 38 Number 6


About the Author

Sheila M. Blackford is an attorney and practice management advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund. She is also a member of the adjunct faculty at University of Oregon School of Law.   

Law Practice Magazine | November/December 2012 | The Client Service IssueHow fitting that we wrap up a successful 2012 with a focus on serving clients. Could there even be lawyers were it not for clients?

Client service is a big topic. How can lawyers improve client service? It can be difficult at times to match client expectations with legal services provided. It can be hard sometimes to even meet our own high expectations. With that thought, I hope this issue of Law Practice will meet your expectations. Here is a sampling of what you will learn in this issue, thanks to the work performed by our issue team, led by Tea Hoffmann, together with fellow member of the LP editorial board, Mary Vandenack, and Susan Saltonstall Duncan of RainMaking Oasis Inc. Susan has written our lead article, “Client Service and Value Innovations: How Firms Are Profiting From Delivering Better Value to Clients.”

Client service and value innovations: Are you answering your client’s call to become more innovative in providing the best team of lawyers for each case? Can the team come together from different firms if that is the best team available? Client-focused service will frequently demand more collaborative efforts to sustain it. Can you deliver more for less and increase profits? Susan’s article will help decide your answers.

To see these ideas in action, be sure to read Susan’s companion piece, “5 Firms Take Bold Approaches,” a collection of case studies of five very different firms, ranging in size from 11 to 1,200 attorneys, that have brainstormed their way to becoming better versions of themselves.

Mary Vandenack’s article, “Building on Key Capital: Your Current Clients,” shares 10 helpful tips for developing an improved client focus, which has a natural practice-building effect. You may find yourself adopting these ideas and coming up with additional ones for launching a successful 2013.

With all your wishes to improve client service, you won’t want to overlook Thames Schoenvogel’s “The Essential Value of Client Feedback” to learn more about getting a clear focus on client feedback from John Parker, an in-house counsel from Coca-Cola Enterprises; David Bruns, a law firm client services director from Farella Braun + Martel; and Laura Meherg, a client feedback consultant from Wicker Parker Group. These three professionals give you their perspectives on why developing a client feedback program should be an essential tool for providing your clients with the value they are seeking from you.

Your favorite columnists are joined this month by our guest Web 2.0 columnist, Lee Rosen, a family law attorney from North Carolina who, understands firsthand about moving one’s practice management system to the cloud. He shares his considerable experience with you in “Customizing the Cloud.”

This issue’s law practice management guest expert is John Remsen Jr., president and CEO of the Managing Partner Forum, providing just the advice you may need to better succeed at law firm leadership. It’s a great article to read and, if you’re not the managing partner yet, pass it along.

I want to thank columnists Sally Schmidt and Bob Denney for their many years of service to the readers of LP. Sally first began writing a marketing column in 1997 for which she won an Edge Award in 2006. Bob Denney’s popular Trends Report made its LP debut in April 2003, and you won’t want to miss his last column in this issue. We look forward to them returning to write longer feature articles.

Lastly, let me thank you for your readership in 2012. Please let us know what you enjoyed so we can deliver more of it, and of course let us know what you haven’t, so we can improve in the year ahead.

Collegially yours,

Sheila M. Blackford



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