ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Corporate Counsel
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Tips on Keeping Clients (Very) Happy
The perennial question on everyone's lips: How to get and keep clients? We've heard from plenty of business development experts over the years, but not nearly enough from partners at major firms.
Luckily, Michael McDonald, a partner at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton's London office, is filling that gap. RollOnFriday got its claws on McDonald's memo, "How to Superplease Clients," which was sent out to the firm's trainees and associates. The memo lists what they can do to keep external and "internal" clients (e.g., partners) happy. (We asked Cleary for comment, but have not heard back.)
Let me just say, it is quite amusing. Sometimes, McDonald seems so solicitious of clients' needs that he sounds like he's catering to prized poodles. At the same time, though, he's also being very comprehensiveoffering about 50 tips on client relations. (RollOnFriday suggests that you "stick [the list] on your fridge.")
McDonald starts off on a somewhat apologetic note, noting that some might find his advice "overly North American and dated." Despite the horror of being one of those eager-to-please Yanks, McDonald says it's time to acknowledge that client are "demanding" these days"wherever they are located."
Indeed, McDonald fits nicely within the eager-beaver lawyer mode. He tells young lawyers to:
In other words, he's advocating that lawyers overdeliver. Probably not realistic for associates who are already working under tremendous time pressures, though I get his drift.
But McDonald also seems to suggest that lawyers should go to extremes to satisfy the business and personal needs of clients:
We can poke fun at McDonald's seemingly over-the-top advice on making clients happy, but he's probably on the right track. Probably lots of successful lawyers do all these little personal things, but just don't set them to paper. In a way, I guess McDonald is doing a public service by being so up-front about his methods.
What do you thinkis this just old-fashioned suck-up, or is he going to the extreme?
This article originally appeared as a post on The Careerist.