It is said that in a tough economy customer service improves. It makes sense: When the employment rate heads south, people value their jobs more and do fewer things to jeopardize their employment.

Considering the struggles the U.S. economy is currently experiencing, I decided to pay more attention to whether this theory has legs. And I admit I’ve seen some improvements. Waitstaffs seem a little more attentive to their tables and cab drivers are a bit more cautious on the road. But it was the airline industry that really intrigued me.

I recently took two business trips, which allowed me to compare two airlines–one a traditional carrier, the other a budget airline. One stood out as going above and beyond to ensure its passengers a comfortable journey. Now I’m talking subtleties–a smiling flight attendant helping me get my bag in the overheard versus a frowning flight attendant impatiently waiting to pass me in the aisle.

I had been a loyal customer of the traditional airline for years and only tried the budget airline because it offered a cheaper fare. But surprisingly, it was the budget airline that exceeded my expectations. It’s hard to say whether the economy had anything to do with the great service I received, but it’s refreshing that some people–even in the airline industry–recognize the importance of providing quality service.

At InsideCounsel, we’re focused on doing our part to provide you, our customers, with the best service possible. In mid-2008, we conducted our annual readership survey, asking you to tell us what you wanted in the magazine. We have listened.

In addition to several cover stories, features and surveys focusing on best practices and how-tos, this year InsideCounsel is introducing a few new sections. While you may have already noticed Corporate Crime–a department we launched in late 2008 focusing on the role in-house counsel play in protecting clients from corporate wrongdoing–we have decided to make it a regular part of the magazine. We also are introducing two new alternating columns written by your peers: Ethical Insights and Driving Diversity–important topics we know play a huge role in your business.

We hope in 2009 you’ll find InsideCounsel to be even more valuable than it has been in years past. If you have suggestions or comments on how we can continue to improve the magazine, please e-mail me at After all, we are here to serve you.