In this chart, the best collaborators (10%) (black line) at law firms continued to thrive during and after the 2008-2009 recession. The second tier (11-30%) (blue line) had a bit of a dip in 2009, but then pretty much recovered. The remaining (70%!) (red line) saw their business fall off a cliff in the recession and it has not come back any way close to pre-recession levels.
Clearly, collaboration can provide a safety net in the worst of times.
Perhaps something to consider in our current, uncertain times.
For now, we’ll end here. Subsequent pieces will get into specifics of strategic client management. For the impatient among you, we have more on this on our site.
And, as always, dear readers – we’re interested in hearing your take on this.
 There are other monikers for this, most frequently, “client relationship management.” In some cases those initiatives are highly executional in nature and, instead, we want to underscore the importance of a more intentional, ahem, strategic approach. We also want to avoid confusion with CRM software products – which is most-assuredly not what we’re talking about.
 This finding that client service trumps legal expertise (and just about everything else) in importance to clients is confirmed in the next chart and in many other studies. This might suggest that law firms rethink lawyer bios which tend to focus almost entirely on legal expertise. Perhaps use bios to demonstrate how lawyers solve clients’ problems; short case studies anyone?
 What this says to us is that in the absence of good client service, clients will focus on costs; an uncomfortable fact most law firms would prefer to not think too hard about.
 Heidi Gardner’s Smart Collaboration: How Professionals and Their Firms Succeed by Breaking Down Silos is the ur-source of data and insights on the business value of collaboration at professional service firms, with a focus on law firms.
 Full disclosure – Bill is a good friend.