Archive for September, 2007

Cross-Cultural Client Development CLE

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Meet me in London next week when I lead a panel discussion during the fall conference of the International Law Section of the American Bar Association about Cross-Cultural Client Development.  The session takes place on Thursday, October 4 from 10:45-12:15, and my fellow panel members will include, Derek Jones of Baker Botts (London office),  Professor Susan Segal-Horn and Jose Antonio Munoz of Arias & Munoz.


Later that day I will also be presenting a mini-training session on Global Rainmaking with international trainer Megan Walters of Isongo.


I hope to see you then!

CLE: Employees in Cross-Border M&A Transactions

Friday, September 21st, 2007

The ever knowledgeable Salli Swartz of Paris-based Phillips Giraud Naud & Swartz is slated to be one of the panelists during next Wednesday’s CLE teleclass sponsored by the International Law Section of the ABA.  The CLE will explore how to deal with employees in cross border M&A transactions. Click here for more details.

Relevant References Build Rapport with Potential Clients during Speeches

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Great legal work alone rarely keeps clients happy:  lawyers also need great relationships to bolster the client-attorney connection.  Sometimes cultural impediments arise in relationships between clients and attorneys, even when they speak the same language. One way to boost the attorney-client relationship is by connecting with clients–building and maintaining rapport with them across cultural divides.

Lawyers can build this rapport early on–even while giving speeches to potential clients from other cultures.  I was reminded of this a few days ago while I  listened to Sir Howard, Director of the London School of Economics, as he addressed a group of American LSE alumni on a very British topic: Brown’s Britain vs. Blair’s. 

Recognizing that his audience was American, he began to build rapport with culturally applicable analogies.  For example, Sir Howard included parallels to the Republican and Democratic parties, and other US-centric references. Not only did this add interest to his speech, but it also helped to create rapport.

In his book Wake Em’Up:  How to Create Alarmingly Good Business Presentations, humorist and speaker Tom Antion addresses this topic.  He describes how he built rapport with a group of Indian businessmen in America; Tom researched the name of the top Indian comic, and quipped that he was standing in for the Indian comic who unfortunately couldn’t make it.  The audience roared in appreciation–and this built bridges between the speaker and his audience.


Next time that you are speaking to potential clients from other cultures, include analogies and other references to their culture. Acknowledging and appreciating their culture will help to bridge the gap and build attorney-client rapport.

Communicating and Connecting with a Virtual Boss…and Virtual Clients

Friday, September 7th, 2007

Long distance work: that’s the essence of an international practice. One primary challenge is how to stay connected to clients, co-workers and bosses across the miles.

Harvard Business Online recently posted an article about pleasing bosses long distance titled Remote Leadership:  Meeting the Challenge of Working for a Virtual Boss by Michael Watkins.  Tips include building a good working relationship with a boss in person early on, no matter how far away you are located: after all,  “there is no way you can make a personal connection and lay the foundation for a strong working relationship solely through electronic means.”

Watkins also recommends regularly connecting with a virtual boss, and using more personal means of communicating, like phone calls rather than just email.  In other words, he recognizes and touts the importance of building a strong personal connection with a virtual boss through personal interaction.

The same advice applies to working with clients virtually.  Lawyers must find the time to connect with their clients across the miles and in different time zones–and discipline themselves to do so regularly and effectively.  Otherwise they risk having to reestablish lost client relationships, as discussed in my August 24, 2007 post on reactivating former clients with in person contact.