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Strategic Partnerships between Law Firms and Clients: The New Rules of Collaboration

January 16, 2017

Fenwick litigation chair Rodger Cole was quoted in the National Law Journal article “Strategic Partnerships between Law Firms and Clients: The New Rules of Collaboration.

Previewing a panel on law firm and client relationships at the Thomson Reuters Marketing Partner Forum, the National Law Journal spoke with Cole about what constitutes good collaboration and how law firms can add value in long-term client relationships.

Cole told the National Law Journal that to develop a relationship based on teamwork, law firms need to demonstrate to clients that they can work together as well as communicate openly.

“Our clients tell us that seeing how the law firm collaborates internally is a strong indicator of how well it will collaborate with its clients,” Cole said. “It’s also important for us to spend time up front asking clients about their preferences and expectations—both their goals for a specific matter as well as general expectations around communication, reporting, document sharing, billing and budgeting—and then communicating those to the client team at the law firm so everybody is clear.”

Cole shared more thoughts on the topic, including the need for a real understanding of in-house pressures, in a follow-up National Law Journal article, “Beyond Excellent Legal Services: How Law Firms Can Add More Value​.”

“Our relationship with our clients has expanded to include broader business issues, and more awareness of our role in helping in-house counsel manage the operational goals of the legal department, from staffing to budgeting, professional development, use of technology, and even helping legal departments get involved with pro bono,” Cole said.