One of this blog’s goals is to help business owners and managers understand why their lawyers act the way they do.
My question in this two-part series: Why don’t more law firms treat the businesses that pay their bills like customers?
In my post a week ago I quoted Forbes’ legal commentator Mark Cohen:
“There is unambiguous evidence of a significant and persistent disconnect between law firms and their clients. Only 25% of corporate legal buyers said they would recommend their ‘go-to’ law firm.”
A business owner or manager might ask: Why can’t law firms treat my business with the same care and attention with which Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, the Cleveland Clinic — or my local dry cleaners — treats me?
Law firms are rarely managed the way that you run your business. To move toward a relationship with them that better serves your interests, it would help to understand how certain perverse incentives in the law firm world work.
The way law firms handle internal issues — like the two addressed below — creates perverse incentives. And those perverse incentives make law firm leadership more responsive to its partners — its owners — than to the organizations who pay their fees.