Canadian Lawyer

June 2009

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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opinion Group Publisher: Karen Lorimer Editorial Director: Gail J. Cohen Staff Writer: Glenn Kauth Copy Editor: Neal Adams Creative Director: Einar Rice Art Director: Bill Hunter Account Co-ordinators: Alice Chen and Catherine Giles Contributors: Robert Todd, Kelly Harris, Jean Sorensen, Geoff Kirbyson, donalee Moulton Canadian Lawyer is published 11 times a year by Canadian Lawyer Magazine Inc., 240 Edward St., Aurora, Ont. L4G 3S9 (905) 841-6480 Fax: (905) 727-0017. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reprinted without written permission. The opinions expressed in articles are not necessarily those of the publisher. Information pre- sented is compiled from sources believed to be accurate, how- ever, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions. Canadian Lawyer Magazine Inc. disclaims any warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the contents of this publication and disclaims all liability in respect of the results of any action taken or not taken in reliance upon information in this publication. Advertising Sales Representatives Legal Suppliers: Kimberlee Pascoe Tel: (905) 713-4342 E-mail: Law Firms: Karen Lorimer Tel: (905) 713-4339 E-mail: Kathy Liotta Tel: (905) 713-4340 E-mail: Sales Co-ordinator: Sandy Shutt Tel: (905) 713-4337 E-mail: Canadian Lawyer Magazine Inc. President: Stuart J. Morrison 240 Edward St., Aurora, ON L4G 3S9 Phone: (905) 841-6480 Fax: (905) 727-0017 E-mail: Web: Publications Mail Agreement #40766500 ISSN 0703-2129 Copyright © 2009 G.S.T. Registration #R121349799 RETURN UNDELIVERABLE CANADIAN ADDRESS TO: CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 240 EDWARD ST., AURORA, ON L4G 3S9 RETOURNER TOUTE CORRESPONDANCE NE POUVANT ÊTRE LIVRÉE AU CANADA AU SERVICE DES PUBLICATIONS 240 EDWARD ST., AURORA, ON L4G 3S9 Circulation/Address Changes/Subscriptions Kristen Schulz-Lacey Toll Free: 1-888-743-3551 Ext. 4355 Fax: 905-841-4357 E-mail: Subscription rates: Canada1 year print and digital $65 plus GST, 1 year digital only $55. Outside Canada 1 year print & digital $94.50 (USD), 1 year digital only $40.00(USD). Student rate 1 year print and digital $36 plus GST, 1 year digital only $20 plus GST. For all circulation inquiries and address changes send a copy of your mail- ing label or labels along with your request in writing to Canadian Lawyer 240 Edward Street, Aurora, ON, L4G 3S9 Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index Indexed in the Canadian Periodical Index EDITOR ' S DE SK BY GAIL J. COHEN Growing from within F or years, law firms have relied on a few rainmakers to bring in business to keep a slew of other lawyers working. Even in small firms, there's often one lawyer who spends much of their time out there going to events, meeting people, and generally being the face of the firm in order to bring in new clients. But it seems the time has passed for firms to rely on these old ways. In this month's cover story, "Big BD," Canadian Lawyer looks at what law firms big and small are doing to develop business. Many large law firms now have busi- ness development teams or departments. Where numbers don't allow that, other firms and lawyers are getting on the social media bandwagon and drawing interest through blogs, Twitter, and the like. It all works and has value but most of these efforts are aimed at snagging new clients. What many legal marketing experts will tell you, though, is focusing on existing clients can bring in as much, if not more, new business to a firm. One of the best ways to do this is through client feedback. In the Canadian Lawyer Corporate Counsel Survey, published in the November/December 2008 issue, 92 per cent of the corporate counsel surveyed said their law firms had not asked them to complete a written satisfaction survey in the previous 12 months. Other studies and anecdotal evidence show clients want to have such a dialogue but most law firms do not conduct any sort of formal client feedback, be it written or of the interview variety. There are very solid reasons to seek out such feedback. Primarily, it makes the clients feel they are important and that the law firm wants their input on how to provide better service. Most problems in a firm-client relationship arise somehow from a lack of communication, often manifesting itself through a failure to man- age expectations. Going to clients and listening to what they have to say about what your firm is doing wrong and right can only serve to enhance and prolong the relationship. Client interviews are a very powerful tool firms of any size can tackle. Not every client needs to be interviewed every year. Depending on the size and resources of your particular firm, even doing one or two a year will help strengthen ties with your clients. Here are a few pointers to get you on your way. Firstly, the primary lawyer or relationship partner should not conduct the client interviews. If the firm has a marketing or business development group, use one of them to do it. Smaller firms could send the office manager or managing partner, just as long as it's not the lawyer who usually services the client. Before the feedback session, do research on the status of the client's files, the state of their business, even interview the lawyers who work with that client, and know what your goals are for the process before putting together your list of questions. Again, if you know a lot about the client, it will make them feel you and the firm appreciate them. Visit the clients on-site and listen, listen, listen. Once you get their feedback, tell the relationship partner/primary lawyer what transpired. Most importantly, act on it. Don't let clients' concerns go unresolved, it defeats the purpose of the whole affair. It can be a lot of time and effort but in the end, the clients feel the firm cares about them and you may be surprised about how much the relationship is strengthened and what you can learn that can translate into new opportunities. www. C ANADIAN Law ye JUNE 2009 3

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