Client satisfaction survey by a firm and possible learning by a law department

An interview of two Eversheds partners, published in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, May 2008 at 27, contains the following statement: “At the end of each dispute we handle that involves fees in excess of £40,000 [about $70,000] we bring in an independent research firm that interviews our clients concerning their experiences and our handling of their cases.” The firm has conducted such satisfaction surveys over at least the last two years.

The fee threshold seems quite low, but this is still a commendable practice, one that clients and law departments should appreciate and respond to frankly. Would it not be even more valuable if the Evershed’s lawyers who worked on the dispute compiled a counterpart satisfaction survey? How did the law department handle the case? The input from that could help the law department better manage outside counsel and litigation and should solidify the relationship between it and the firm (See my post of March 24, 2007: Reed Smith and its program to interview clients.).

I sent the above to one of the co-authors, John Heaps, who replied: “The importance of feedback for everyone involved at the end of an assignment and for that matter as it progresses cannot be overstated. The sort of review you suggest happens at present informally as part of the ongoing dialogue we have with our clients. It is an important element of our partnering approach. The advantages of a more formal system are obvious as specific issues can be addressed, so long as the feedback is handled with sensitivity.”

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