Monday, July 9, 2007

But who was most arrogant?

Here's a good post on in-house counsel rating law firms based on customer service and "arrogance." The full list was not published in the article, but I note that Ropes and Gray was both on the "A-Team" in customer service and on the most arrogant list. That's sort of like Howard Cosell, Mr. Arrogance himself, being both the most loved and most hated sportscaster in the US back in the 1970s.

What I don't understand is why client put up with this. Only 32% of executives would recommend their outside counsel to a fellow GC. And only 25% think their primary outside counsel excels in client service.

But I don't feel sorry for the 70% that don't like their lawyers, because they ought to find new ones. If your lawyer does not return calls or e-mails promptly, find one who does. If your lawyer is Howard Cosell and you hate Howard Cosell, then get Chick Hearn or Vin Scully or Haray Caray or Ernie Harwell -- you get the picture. There's plenty of demand for good lawyers, but guess what? There's plenty of good lawyers, too.

My general rule on client communication is to respond as much as possible (I'm guessing 98% of the time) within one hour to a voice mail or e-mail, even if the answer is that I need more time to respond fully to a message. And I just don't see why everyone does not have that policy. In the days of cell phones and e-mail and BlackBerrys, in my opinion the only reason you should not be able to respond within that time frame is if you are serving another client. I learned this from the best lawyers I know, and it has been successful for me.