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Firms Need to Offer More Than Legal Expertise to Win Clients In 2012, Experts Say

Posted Jan 5, 2012 9:38 AM CDT
By Rachel M. Zahorsky

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Successful law firms will need to focus on more than just the legal matters at hand to make clients happy in 2012, two legal consultants predicted this week.

Increased competition for legal work, says Joel F. Henning of Joel Henning & Associates and Joseph B. Altonji, principal of LawVision Group, puts clients in the driver’s seat to demand true alternative billing structures and greater civility in the profession, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports.

Law firms must learn how to train everyone from receptionists on up to partners on "service delivery" and "client experience," Henning told the Law Bulletin.

In the medical world, Henning said the highly successful Cleveland Clinic has a special office with at least 70 people headed by a senior doctor "100 percent committed to the patient experience, not medical treatment."

Other predictions by the consultants included an stagnant year for growth at most firms, with the economy and upcoming election creating uncertainty.

Although Ward Bower, principal of the law firm consulting business Altman Weil, offered the Law Bulletin a more positive view of the new year with optimism geared toward stronger M&A action and more IPOs, Altonji warned that restored PPP at some firms could mask decreased head counts of lawyers and staffers.

One bright spot Altonji reported, according to the Law Bulletin, is the renewed investment and adoption of technology and social media marketing tactics at firms.

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