Creating a Client Advisory Board for Your Law Firm

Posted on February 9, 2021 by Silvia Coulter


Client Advisory Boards can help your firm stay on top of changing industry trends and clients' expectations. Advising your strategic account teams on how best to add value is just one of the many benefits the firm will receive from a board of top clients who care about your firm's success as one of their business's legal providers. 

Why create a Client Advisory Board?  

Client retention and growth are based on your firm's strong relationships with its clients. The changes affecting the legal industry are profound. How firms develop and deliver legal services will continue to evolve into new business models driven by technology. Buyers of legal services expect value, responsiveness, business understanding, and outstanding work product – all at a competitive and fair price. Now more than any previous time in the industry, it is imperative to build stronger and deeper relationships with your best clients. It is fair to say that for most firms, their top 20 to 30% of clients typically generate 70 to 80% of the firm's revenue. Inviting and engaging some of these key clients on a Client Advisory Board will deliver:

  • Early warnings of shifts in client needs and emerging opportunities (Market Research) 
  • New Service Development feedback (Innovation) 
  • Decreased client attrition and churn, especially among the Client Advisory Board members (Customer Loyalty) 
  • Advocacy for approaching and appealing to similar clients, including referrals (Sales) 
  • Intelligence on competitors' tactics and strategies – what’s working and what's not (Market Intelligence) 
  • New opportunities to drive revenue (Revenue Growth)

Begin by setting Advisory Board meetings twice a year. For firms with one office, this meeting could take place at a local restaurant--with pre-dinner cocktails and a speaker. For firms with more than one office, meetings may take place virtually, or as some businesses have found, in person once a year and virtually the other time of year. 

Be sure to have a focused agenda, Advisory Board notes for review before the meetings, and a brief presentation by the firm's Chair/Managing Partner about its successes year-to-date. Advisory Board members will enjoy hearing from one another, so be sure to include time for brief updates about their businesses from each member.

Create a client advisory board by inviting some of the firm's key clients to participate, and the firm will realize the benefits of doing so fairly quickly. 

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About the Author: Silvia Coulter is a co-founding Principal of LawVision Group. Silvia Coulter is widely regarded as one of the legal industry’s most experienced business development and leadership consultants. Her experience includes working as a former strategic account executive and sales leader at a Fortune 50 company, a chief marketing, and business development officer at two global law firms, and consultant and facilitator to professional services firms across the globe. She was an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s College of Professional Studies in the Master’s in Law Firm Management program (2010-2019), a co-founder of the Legal Sales and Service Organization (www.legalsales.org), a Past Elected President of the Legal Marketing Association, and an elected Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She is a frequent speaker and facilitator at professional service firm retreats and legal industry meetings. Silvia is the co-author of three books: The Woman Lawyer’s Rainmaking Game, Rainmaking Advantage, and SAM-Legal: Turning Key Clients into Strategic Accounts.

 

 


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