It may sound slightly crass, but when was the last time your firm’s Managing Partner phoned a client to thank them for giving you work? Indeed, have they ever phoned a client to say thanks for the work they give the firm?
Because, crass as it may sound, sometimes in life doing the really simple – right – things well gets lost in our haste to over complicate things and reinforce to all how important we are the role we play in this little merry-go-round.
All of this was brought home to me recently when reading an article on abovethelaw.com titled ‘Biglaw Idol’ — Or, How In-House Lawyers Actually Select Outside Counsel: Picking a law firm for a seven-figure engagement can take under five minutes by Stephen R Williams.
Stephen is in-house with a multi-facility hospital network in the US Midwest and in this article he sets out fairly succinctly and scarily (from an Australian business development perspective) near-verbatim transcript of a recent discussion on how the in-house team decided which private practice firm they would retain for “a rather sizable engagement” (the seven figure sum mentioned in the article’s title).
Turns out that once they had decided a select group of firms (5) who they thought could do the job, one of the deciding differentiators that set the winning firm out from the others was the fact that:
Their managing partner also called me this morning to thank me for considering them. He said he understood they may not be who we ultimately retain, but he appreciated the confidence we had in their firm for even considering them.
The GC’s response?
Well, it may surprise you:
GC: Wow, Managing Partner called? I passed over his shop a few months ago in favor of Biglaw 2 and thought he was still mad at me. I am impressed he called. Look, if we can’t get an answer from Biglaw 5 and Biglaw 4 is ready to go — I am signed-off, bring in Biglaw 4.
That Managing Partner just won his firm a seven figure engagement. With one phone call. And he didn’t even say thanks for hiring us. He said, “thanks for thinking about hiring us”. Pretty powerful stuff.
Food for thought…