Novel job titles like “chief value officer” and “client relationship manager” have increasingly become part of the Big Law lexicon, but it would be a mistake to assume only large firms are pouring more resources into managing client relationships, according to consultants and law firm professionals.
Indeed, Amanda Brady
, managing partner and global practice leader of law firm management
at Major Lindsey & Africa, said that even in Big Law there’s a disconnect between the number of firms that have client-focused professional roles and the number that actually utilize them.
“Even today, there are few firms that require lawyers to utilize their pricing and client value teams, so these professionals have had to find lawyers and practice groups willing to ‘beta test’ these ideas, and then sell the successes across the firm, so actual adoption has been slower than some firm’s marketing materials would have you believe,” Brady said in an email.
Brady said she’s noticed more midsize firms ramping up formal efforts to improve client value and believes they can learn from the larger firms that have made similar moves both what and what not to do.
“There is a good chance that the smaller firms adopting client value initiatives and investing in client value chiefs and directors will experience a faster adoption with their lawyers,” Brady said. ”The benefit they have is less bureaucracy to slog through in the adoption process and the fact that Big Law has paved the way in how to implement these initiatives effectively. Sometimes being a bit of a laggard can be an advantage. As I recall, the tortoise won the race.”