Deepening Client Relationships Promotes Baker & McKenzie’s Success

As reported in today’s Lawyer.com, Baker & McKenzie is celebrating record profits–with per equity partner income rising 22% over the last year.  John Conroy, head of the firm’s executive committee, is quoted as crediting five factors for this financial success, including “deepening major client relationships.”

As a truly global firm, Baker & McKenzie noted growth in a variety of markets, primarily those in Europe and the Middle East, followed by those in North America and Latin America, and then by those in the Asia Pacific. And so, deepening existing client relationships at this firm necessarily includes a fair amount of cross selling–enticing clients to use the firm in additional geographic markets and practice areas.

For this kind of cross selling to work well, multiple lawyers (not just the client’s primary contact) need good cross cultural skills.  A rainmaker with a prized client will be willing to cross sell the services of his firm colleagues if the colleagues are talented lawyers AND if they won’t offend or chase away the client. 

So, if you want more internal referrals, cultivate good relations with your colleagues, too.  If you find yourself at a global firm like Baker & McKenzie, you will need to cross cultural acumen not only when dealing with potential and existing clients, but also when developing relationships with your colleagues from around the world.

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