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In-HOuse COunsel learning modules in their practice areas for the company’s on-line employee university – gratis. Secondly, in what turned out to be a natural follow-on to this customer satisfaction discussion, we asked, “Does your law firm understand your business?” The average response was 6.5, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being “not at all” and 10 being “completely.” A 2012 ALM survey found similarly that 78% of law firms could not honestly say that their firm leaders were “extremely knowledgeable” about their top 20 clients’ businesses. Again, the GCs said this understanding could be easily increased with regular non-billable communication between GCs and outside counsel. To this end, in an effort to better understand their clients, one major SE law firm reduced their in-house continuing education budget and used the savings to pay their lawyers to go out and spend time with their clients, learning about their businesses. Fenwick & West provides monetary rewards to its attorneys for individual investments in learning new skills or pursuing innovations that can produce value for its clients. Joe and I left these discussions asking ourselves whether we focused enough on understanding our clients’ businesses as well as measuring and improving client satisfaction. It quickly became apparent to us that what we were hearing was not limited to law firms, or even professional service firms but instead all companies. In a world where communication is via voicemail, email, texting and emojis, it is too easy to overlook the most important thing – one on one personal communication with clients to understand where they are and where they want to go. G Anita Turner, a lawyer, is a Senior Director with Colliers International | Alabama, and may be reached at http://www. collierssidebar. com/. Guided by Rodney A. Max, center, and Michael B.Walls, right, our experienced team also comprises BradWash, Arthur J. Hanes Jr. and Marty Van Tassel. They assist law firms and their clients in every phase of dispute resolution, settling major litigation in Alabama and nationwide. 2000A SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 400, Birmingham, AL 35209; 205-933-9033 UpchurchWatsonWhite&Max BIRMINGHAM’SMEDIATION DESTINATION A8153636-01 Birmingham Bar Bulletin/ Summer 2017 19


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