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| 2 minutes read

Senior Attorneys – ditch the bow tie. Give your entire team of fee earners and fee enablers a voice…

I wrote the post below a year ago.  It has been a hell of a year.  How we stay close to clients and reinforce our position as their trusted advisor is more important now than ever.  In law firms, client relationships that rely on one lawyer knowing one buyer at a client are bound to be precarious.  There is far too much risk there.  One thing that can be done is to encourage entire teams of experts - fee earners and fee enablers to showcase their expertise.

There is no doubt that clients now a year into this pandemic require and appreciate as much timely, expert advice about their challenges and opportunities as possible.  Showcasing expertise across the team is crucial to protect that relationship and to provide the greatest service to your client.  Here is the post from a year ago:

‘Non-lawyers'.  This is often how half a law firm is defined.  Very odd if like me you are not in a law firm and in my experience unique to the legal profession.  I go into law firms every day.  It is a generalization but half of all firms are made up of people who are fee earners – the attorneys – and the other half are not non- lawyers- they are fee enablers. 

Last week I met teams from Business Development, Human Resources, Pro-Bono, Training, Client Relationships and was at a party over the weekend with a friend who is building a client solution team at a law firm.  All fee enablers.

Also last week I was sent the article below with a note saying law firms have to get away from bow ties.  Not the fashion (which is actually more prevalent than you would imagine) but rather as a shape in which clients of law firms are looked after and communicated with.

Client relationships that rely on one lawyer knowing one buyer at a client are bound to be precarious.  There is far too much risk there.  Check out the diagram below that explains this neatly:

ROBERT PAY D: Designing a Key Relationship Program: Building Strong Client Relationships

With this in mind at all my meetings last week I advised that fee enablers should be present in as many relationships with clients as possible.  They should, of course, be in the room when it comes to solving problems, helping their clients ‘look round the bend’ and be listened to when solutions are drawn up.  I am noticing a change but I am still amazed at how little face-time the sales, communications and other professionals have with clients.  From my law firm, I want all your experts to solve my challenges.

I also believe fee enablers should also have a voice as part of the firm.  It is not just one lawyer a client should know and trust – it is a team of experts.  So, my advice this week (especially as we are all about to travel less and see clients face to face) is to create timely, client relevant content that positions the entire team – fee earners and fee enablers as go-to experts.

This traditional bow-tie method of dealings between companies is typical because it offers a high degree of control and allows for consistency of approach in the dealings between the two companies. However, the account management challenges caused by this one-point-of-contact approach can be far-ranging. They include: * The lack of depth in contacts within the buying company * Low understanding of the overall business * Poor penetration of product/service knowledge within the client company * Top-heavy dependence on just two persons * More susceptible to competitive offerings


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