Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers cover most of the concerns that lawyers and law firm leadership have raised over the years regarding our Client Development and Relationship Management workshop.
Q: Why does the training take so much time?
The workshop consists of:
a day and a half workshop (12 hours);
one hour and 15 minute video session per lawyer and;
a four hour follow-up meeting or tailored optional session.
The total time is less than 20 hours spread over several days. It has been our experience that we cannot produce significant results in less time. To modify or change the way lawyers are managing clients and business development is time intensive. If we could achieve higher levels of success in less time, we would modify the workshop immediately. We have not been able to make any major reductions in the time required. We are open to any suggestions or modifications to the workshop after the firm's leadership has taken the course.
Q: What costs can we expect?
We charge $39,500 for a group of twelve lawyers. Our time investment for the workshop is a minimum of seven and as many as nine consulting days per course group. We are aware of the growing concern for costs. We are viewed by our clients as a revenue center. We feel strongly that we must return revenue to the firm greater than the costs for the workshop. Our analysis indicates that for every dollar invested in training we have returned thirty dollars ($30) in additional revenue that is directly linked to the client development approach we teach. To verify the value that our clients received we suggest you call our references.
Q: What can we expect as incidental costs?
We charge the $39,500 course fee rather than bill hourly charges. Included in the $39,500 fee are the pre-training analysis and preparation, all teaching materials, assistance in selecting the participants and custom follow-up sessions to ensure that the training will be successful. We charge for travel expenses for the instructors. We do not charge for copying costs, word processing costs, ordinary telephone discussions, long distance charges and other administrative costs usually associated with consultants. We bring our own video camera equipment and we ask our clients to reserve the conference rooms and TV monitors for the workshop sessions.
Q: Why can't the training be given over a weekend?
The training consists of three consecutive days of classroom work. One of the days would need to be either on Friday or Monday. It has been our experience that weekend retreats do not work. We use a mock client case study approach that requires the lawyers to manage their time and the firm's resources during a real work week. The realism gives the lawyer participants a model for future client development projects. Lastly, we have feedback from every group that the workshop is best given during the work week.
Q: Why can't we shorten the workshop to several short sessions and reduce the time commitment and cost?
We have conducted approximately 1,000 sessions over the last twenty-three years with over 16,000 attendees. The overwhelming majority of the attendees have said that the current course is too short! Comments have been that the information they received is a drink from a fire hose and the value of the training is above their expectations. After the first session with the firm's leadership it has been our experience that the time and cost concerns are no longer an issue.
Q: Who should be trained first?
The firm's leadership. The managing partner, the executive committee, the client development committee members and key members of the firm. Without the firm's leadership commitment to this project the results will be greatly diminished. In our experience the most successful firms use the leadership-by-example model.
Q: Why only 12 lawyers per session? Can't we reduce the cost by including more lawyers in each session?
Our experience has been that more than 12 lawyers causes the sessions to be lectures and not interactive workshops. More than 12 would cause the course to be extended to more than 20 classroom hours. We also spend approximately one to two hours with each individual in one-on-one counseling sessions. The individual sessions and the mock client case study are timed ideally for 12 lawyers.
Q: Can we have lawyer observers?
We ask you not to have lawyers observe our workshops. The marketing, business development and administrative staff are welcome. Our workshops are designed to have the participants actually do face-to-face business development with current and former in-house counsel. Our clients tell us the 2nd and 3rd day are valuable because they get feedback about how, not what or why regarding business development. In addition, the lawyer observers sit in the rear of the room and don't get to see the interaction between the participants. The lawyer observers are not part of the exercise and therefore do not feel invested in the outcomes. We have noted that the lawyer observers are not present during the entire workshop and raise questions that have been answered while they were out of the room. The lawyer observers may raise objections that we resolve for the participants during the video process the next day and Day 3. Many firms have asked us if as many as 10 to 12 lawyers can observe the session at no cost. We have found it a sound business practice to not have lawyer observers. Our business model also is based on our workshop being attended by paid participants.
Q: What results can we expect from the training?
Our clients' find that their clients become more satisfied with the law firm and the firm receives more revenue from current clients. Our clients are more successful at winning new business. Lastly, our clients find the systematic approach we teach to be far more professional than what they have experienced from other sources and is consistent with the ethics of the legal profession. The success of the training can be measured by the number of additional sessions we have conducted for our clients. We have returned to every one of our clients to conduct additional sessions except where the firm was too small or where changes occurred that caused the firm to merge/dissolve.
Q: Should we train all of our partners? What about associates and staff?
It has been our experience that each firm has differing needs in business development. Many of our clients train everyone. Several of our clients have used the partners to train associates and staff. Other firms have decided to use consultants that we have recommended to do other training. All of the firms we have trained made their future training requirement decisions after the leadership went through the first session.
Q: Have you ever tried to give a short version of your workshop?
Yes, once at a retreat to approximately 60 partners. We were, in our view, unsuccessful because we did not use video taping or case studies to modify behavior. We are reluctant to repeat our previous failures.
Q: What if we just trained the "drought makers"?
Without the leadership focus the workshop would be unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. The selection process would be divisive and not productive for the firm. Frequently we find that the "drought makers" have the latent skills and have been using inappropriate models to development clients. Hence, the drought makers and the rainmakers benefit from a firm-wide approach that is not personality based.
Q: What makes your training unique and suited for our firm?
We are lawyers and professional educators with business backgrounds. We use the case study and video taped mock client interview approach. We understand that lawyers need to be comfortable and gain confidence to be successful at business development. We use the same approach ourselves to develop and build client relationships. We can also assist your firm in getting CLE credit for the workshop.
Q: What if we don't have a marketing plan or organized client development effort?
The training will provide the firm with "educated planners" that can begin the marketing planning process with a much better focus. We see the plan as having three stages: One, the education or training phase; Two, the implementation phase focusing on key clients of the firm; Three, the management of the client and business development/marketing effort. We have follow-on workshops that are designed to take a firm through these three stages.