If you are in a restaurant, how much do you want to know about the cooking? Some restaurants show you their kitchen, others keep the kitchen doors shut. It is similar with law firms.
If you can’t stand the heat…
These days there is a lot of information available on profitability rates, partner involvement and processes. So much information that within your own firm not everyone may be comfortable with sharing all that information just internally, let alone sharing it with clients.
… Don’t show your kitchen?
What if your clients start asking for full transparancy? If they want to know in detail who has been working on their projects and at what costs. Are you willing to give your clients a kitchen-tour and make all this information available?
Put your client at the chef’s table
In the Law practice ABA issue of August 2015, Maria Miller describes how clients are expecting more than just a big win (what’s on your plate). They are looking for additional advantages or extra value. If they cannot find that at a law firm, they will outsource their work to legal support services companies.
Therefore, it seems inevitable that law firms who want stay stay ahead of the curve should provide as much transparancy as they can. You will have to show your clients what’s cooking in your kitchen. This provides a better client experience and therefore adds value.
There is more to transparency than just financial benefit to a general counsel. Clients who value equality for minorities, environmental friendliness expect their lawyers to do the same. The former general counsel of Shell asked for specified bills to see if a diverse team had been working on a case (and not a white-male-only-team). Whatever the reason, you should be prepared to provide your client the transparency he or she demands (especially if it is Shell…).
Ask yourself; Where would you like to eat? The restaurant where you can see what the chef’s doing? Or the diner where you are unaware that the microwave is doing the work? It all depends on what you order.
If you’re in for a fancy dinner, you probably prefer the Chef’s table.