By Kevin O'Keefe

Law firms need strategic partner not a vendor for client development success

Everyone on the LexBlog team and each one of LexBlog’s clients knows LexBlog views itself as a strategic partner, not a vendor, integral to the practice development success of our lawyer and law firm clients. If a LexBlog client doesn’t understand this, then LexBlog failed at the onset of our relationship in explaining how LexBlog works.

Kevin McKeown, my EVP of Client Development, a lawyer of about 25 years, a driven leader, and close friend, won’t let one person on our team ever forget LexBlog is a strategic partner, not a vendor. And I won’t either.

Here’s an email McKeown sent out to our LexBlog team last week explaining to all what the LexBlog client development does. He nails the concept of working together as a strategic partner and why it’s so critical not just to LexBlog, but to the lawyer and law firm clients we serve.

The client development that we do here focuses on building long-term relationships with lawyers and law firms who know us, like us, trust us and refer work to us. A law firm treats a vendor differently than a strategic partner who is integral to the firm’s practice development success. Being a vendor is not a winning proposition for a company like LexBlog.

I see LexBlog providing turn-key social media tools including the coaching, training, design, development, infrastructure and technology. We take the headaches out of the law blogging equation. We problem solve. We educate each firm on how to tastefully, elegantly and professionally market themselves and engage in effective practice development.

Our knowledge of the Internet is front and center. We demystify the online world and teach the firm about best practices for building a solid brand and Internet identity. We show the firm how strategic online activities will result in offline relationships and referrals if done right.

This may be business but this is very personal business. We are elevating the legal profession and encouraging word-of-mouth referrals where professional competence and passion wins the day. Many will reduce the Internet to a bunch of random servers and technology but LexBlog sees a great tool if used properly and judiciously.

The relationship we have with our client must be a two-way street. The law firm needs to trust us and understand our values if we are to have the impact that is necessary for their success. That’s why we guarantee our work. We extend the first olive branch with our 100% satisfaction guarantee for year one.

We are not trying to take the firm’s money. We want them to suspend disbelief and evaluate our pricing based upon the context of value we provide. We are not trying to sell them a widget or commodity. We are trying to share our knowledge and help them reach their potential on the Internet. We want them to willing give us money as a way of thanking us for the knowledge and value we provide.

This is the mindset that LexBlog’s client development team has with each potential client. Client Development’s first call with a potential client lasts from 45-60 minutes. The call is about understanding the potential client’s goals, listening carefully, and sharing values and knowledge. This mindset for developing long-term relationships can be a mantra for the entire company from project management to client services to IT to technology to accounting if we want…

We practice what we preach: in the early stages of the company the majority of leads came our way via O’Keefe’s blog and the company website. Today, I estimate that 80% of our leads are referred to us by existing clients and other influencers. We have a solid reputation. We are on the cusp of a great success for all concerned as we build on and enhance our reputation.

LexBlog believes so strongly in the concept of being strategic partners with law firms that we’ll walk away from work with clients who cannot get beyond the vendor-buyer relationship.

My team sucks when we’re not working at a higher level of respect with lawyers and law firms. Our mission and values are not aligned with the client’s mission and values. Our service and work product suffers.

With LexBlog’s 100% client satisfaction guarantee and relying on referrals for new business, I can’t allow less than an outstanding work product backed by knock your socks off service. More importantly, neither can you as a law firm or lawyer.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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