Insight

What Do Your Clients Want, Anyway?

Law Firm Strategies to Best Serve Clients.

Sticky notes on black chalk board that says quality, cost, and efficiency
EL

Emilia Levisay

October 1, 2020 08:00 AM

Year after year, firms use surveys to collect responses from clients about what they want and expect from outside counsel. Repeatedly, clients say they want their law firms to provide efficient service, transparency, metrics, and clear communication. However, many claim that they aren’t receiving it.

Melissa Prince, Ballard Spahr’s Chief Client Value and Innovation Officer, wants firm clients to have a different experience.

“Clients are telling their law firms loud and clear what they’re looking for,” said Prince. “To show them that we’re listening, we needed to design a new approach for how we deliver and talk about the work we do.”

Since 2018, Ballard Spahr’s Client Value and Innovation Program (CVIP) has saved clients an estimated $100 million in fees and has been recognized by The National Law Journal, Financial Times, The American Lawyer, and BTI Consulting. More importantly, clients are appreciative.

“We’ve heard nothing but good things about our Client Value and Innovation Program,” said Minneapolis Office Managing Partner Karla Vehrs. “It promotes fee certainty and transparency, provides detail and specificity on how we staff, execute, track, and bill matters, and is a market differentiator and value-add for us.”

Ms. Prince and her team have helped Ballard Spahr deliver on client expectations in three ways:

  • Prioritizing Communication and Feedback: The CVIP expands on the work being done by Ballard Spahr’s Client Interview Program. “At the outset, we begin with a conversation,” Prince said. “This helps us understand a client’s business, including its needs, challenges, goals, and definition of success. Throughout each engagement—and after it ends—we keep track of performance goals and seek feedback to ensure that we’re providing exceptional value and service.”
  • Drawing from a Broad Range of Talent: Ms. Prince hand-selected her team members from a cross-section of fields, including former practicing attorneys, MBAs, finance professionals, software developers, and data scientists. “Our depth of experience and industry-specific approach gives us a more complete understanding of our clients and the challenges they face,” Prince said. “We take that knowledge and use it to help clients mitigate risk, locate opportunities, and get where they need to be—ahead of the competition.”
  • Ensuring Airtight Information Security: Following a rigorous assessment and accreditation process, Ballard Spahr has achieved certification under ISO 27001, the premier global security standard. Certification requires a framework of processes and control specifications designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the client and firm information assets. Ballard Spahr is continually assessed by the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board to ensure that our information security system conforms to its strict requirements and evolves to address new threats and technologies. “Our clients rightly expect that their attorneys will take every precaution to protect their confidential information,” Prince said. “We don’t want there to be any question as to the safety of the information they share with us. Because we can take that concern off their minds, they’re free to focus on partnering with us as we work to solve their problems.”

Ultimately, the CVIP expects to evolve as it tailors itself to emerging challenges and client needs. The team is committed to partnering with clients and delivering the value that clients aren’t getting from other firms. Our CVIP team also understands that it’s now in fierce competition with alternative legal services providers who are competing with lawyers to perform legal more cheaply and innovatively through the use of technology.

“Our legal work is second to none, and our client service needs to be, too,” Prince said. “Our goal is to keep our core values in mind and respond in an agile and forward-thinking way when new developments occur and clients need our help.”

Emilia Levisay is the Manager of Client Value and Innovation for Ballard Spahr. Emilia is focused on understanding the business needs of firm clients and developing practical and innovative pricing and legal project management strategies and solutions designed to meet those needs. The team’s objective is to provide firm clients with exceptional service centered on value, cost-effectiveness, predictability, and efficiency.

Headline Image: ISTOCK.COM / WARCHI

Related Articles

Anna Inventing: The Importance of Diversity in Innovation


by Emily C. Peyser

A patent from 1887 by female inventor Anna Connelly not only revolutionized fire safety, but highlighted the need for diversity in innovation. Our world is facing big problems that need diverse voices at the table to find solutions that work for everyone. Building diverse teams and encouraging diversity in innovation is a beneficial step forward in resolving our collective challenges.

Diversity in Innovation and Technology

Forging Bonds, Building Business


by Crystal L. Howard and Lizl Leonardo

As disorienting and occasionally frightening as the pandemic has been, it has also forced lawyers to find innovative new ways to stay connected and do business.

Pandemic Sparks Innovative Ways of Conducting

How Being a Client Almost Made Me Quit Law School


by Paula Birch Billingsley

Suddenly becoming a personal injury client gave one law school student a new appreciation for clients’ needs and concerns. Here are some considerations even experienced lawyers ought to keep in mind.

Personal Injury Client Almost Quit Law School

Biometric Privacy: It’s Not Just an Illinois Issue


by Kenn Brotman and Molly K. McGinley

How BIPA Litigation May Impact Companies Outside of Illinois

Blue fingerprint that's reflective with black background

How This Firm Is Shaping the Economic Future of Ukraine


by Best Lawyers

Denis Lysenko discusses how AEQUO has helped build a new business environment.

An Interview With AEQUO

An Interview With Norton Rose Fulbright


by Best Lawyers

Australia’s 2020 “Law Firm of the Year” in Insolvency and Reorganization Law

An Interview With Norton Rose Fulbright

Baraona Fischer & Cia on the Changes Coming to Tax Law in Chile


by Best Lawyers

Juan Manuel Baraona of the 2019 "Law Firm of the Year" award-winner for Tax Law in Chile discusses forthcoming regulations, career highlights, and his secrets to success in an interview with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer.

Baraona Fischer & Cia LFOTY

David Ackert's Top Advice on Social Media and Client Prospecting


by Best Lawyers

The president of Ackert Inc. offers his insights on business development to Best Lawyers following the 2019 Legal Marketing Association Annual Conference.

Social Media Tips for Law Firms

4 Ways to Engage Your Client on Their Terms


by Scott Distasio

Upping your customer service skills could boost business, propel your career, and help you retain top clients.

Engaging Your Client on Their Terms

An Interview With Serhiy V. Piontkovsky of Baker McKenzie


by Best Lawyers

The head of Baker McKenzie's Real Estate practice group in Ukraine discusses the firm's standout attorneys.

Baker McKenzie Wins Law Firm of the Year

Understanding the Constitutionality of Patent Law


by John Powers

Ideas can be stolen, just like the machines or products they were used to create.

Why Patents Lead to Innovation

Responsive Initiative


by Deborah Epstein Henry

A Fresh Twist on Innovation

Responsive Initiative

Trending Articles

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in America Honorees


by Best Lawyers

Only the top 5.3% of all practicing lawyers in the U.S. were selected by their peers for inclusion in the 29th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Gold strings and dots connecting to form US map

Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2023


by Best Lawyers

The third edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America™ highlights the legal talent of lawyers who have been in practice less than 10 years.

Three arrows made of lines and dots on blue background

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers® in the United States


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 28th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® and in the 2nd Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in America for 2022.

2022 Best Lawyers Listings for United States

Famous Songs Unprotected by Copyright Could Mean Royalties for Some


by Michael B. Fein

A guide to navigating copyright claims on famous songs.

Can I Sing "Happy Birthday" in Public?

Announcing the 2023 The Best Lawyers in Canada Honorees


by Best Lawyers

The Best Lawyers in Canada™ is entering its 17th edition for 2023. We highlight the elite lawyers awarded this year.

Red map of Canada with white lines and dots

Choosing a Title Company: What a Seller Should Expect


by Roy D. Oppenheim

When it comes to choosing a title company, how much power exactly does a seller have?

Choosing the Title Company As Seller

What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom


by Christina Henagen Peer and Peter Zawadski

Students and parents are increasingly asking to use audio devices to record what's being said in the classroom. But is it legal? A recent ruling offer gives the answer to a question confusing parents and administrators alike.

Is It Legal for Students to Record Teachers?

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers listed in the 16th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ and 1st Edition of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Canada.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in Canada™

Caffeine Overload and DUI Tests


by Daniel Taylor

While it might come as a surprise, the over-consumption of caffeine could trigger a false positive on a breathalyzer test.

Can Caffeine Cause You to Fail DUI Test?

The Real Camille: An Interview with Johnny Depp’s Lawyer Camille Vasquez


by Rebecca Blackwell

Camille Vasquez, a young lawyer at Brown Rudnick, sat down with Best Lawyers CEO Phillip Greer to talk about her distinguished career, recently being named partner and what comes next for her.

Camille Vasquez in office

Announcing the 2022 "Best Law Firms" Rankings


by Best Lawyers

The 2022 “Best Law Firms” publication includes all “Law Firm of the Year” recipients, national and metro Tier 1 ranked firms and editorial from thought leaders in the legal industry.

The 2022 Best Law Firms Awards

Wage and Overtime Laws for Truck Drivers


by Greg Mansell

For truck drivers nationwide, underpayment and overtime violations are just the beginning of a long list of problems. Below we explore the wages you are entitled to but may not be receiving.

Truck Driver Wage and Overtime Laws in the US

All Eyes to the Ones on the Rise


by Rebecca Blackwell

Our 2023 honorees recognized in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch™ in America tell us more about how their path to law formed, what lead them to their practice areas and how they keep steadfast in their passion to serve others.

Person walking between glass walls towards window

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms from Australia.

The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2023

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australia


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers™ in Australi

Announcing the 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa™


by Best Lawyers

The results include an elite field of top lawyers and firms.

Announcing 2022 Best Lawyers in South Africa