2018 Winners – Client Services

First Place

Latham & Watkins LLP

Building Community, Building Business

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Summary: Latham & Watkins' goal was to develop and implement a strategic alumni relations plan and world-class program to enhance relationships with former Latham lawyers, identify new business opportunities and grow revenue. Its objectives were to build and maintain an infrastructure to support the program’s features and develop a process to maintain accurate contact data for alumni. The firm implemented the LathamAlumni program and ultimately saw an 8 percent increase in alumni-referred new matters, surpassing firm leadership’s expectations.

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A central feature of Latham’s culture — collaboration — has been key to the program’s success. The Alumni Relations team collaborated both with alumni outside the firm and across departments within the firm. First, the team focused on the desires of the alumni community via 50 Voice of Alumni interviews, which generated three key themes that drove all of the program’s features. Then, the Alumni Relations team worked for seven months to build consensus and excitement with nearly two dozen key peers across departments to build and implement the key features:

  • Attorney Development funneled in-house career opportunities to LathamAlumni.com.
  • Brand & Communications developed original content for LathamAlumni.com and the Link.
  • Creative Services designed branding.
  • Human Resources developed a global departure notification process.
  • The InterAction team led the updating of alumni contact information.
  • Social Media developed the LinkedIn group.
  • Technology developed LathamAlumni.com.

In the 7 months since launch:

  • 26 percent of reachable alumni and 30 percent of current Latham lawyers registered for LathamAlumni.com, a total of 2,300 users.
  • 67 career opportunities, 16 Life Outside Latham features and five videos were posted.
  • The 10 alumni reunion photo galleries and accompanying emails enjoyed a 60 percent open rate (typical e-marketing open rates range from 15-20 percent by comparison).
  • Alumni-referred new matters increased by 8 percent.
  • The LathamAlumni LinkedIn group has more than 900 group members, and the Global Alumni Relations Manager profile has more than 1,500 connections.
  • 15 alumni events with over 1,000 total attendees were hosted globally – 11 regional events, three practice groups and one affinity group – with an average 70 percent attendance to RSVP rate.
  • The new LathamAlumni Link newsletter was distributed four times to more than 8,000 recipients, with an average 36 percent open rate. Select themes included diversity, pro bono and recruiting.

Honorable Mention


Parker Poe Teams Up With Clients to Increase Efficiency

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Summary: In July 2017, Parker Poe welcomed clients and other legal professionals to its Charlotte headquarters for a two-day Yellow Belt Certification course in Legal Lean Sigma and Project Management. The idea for the course grew directly out of clients telling Parker Poe they wanted to collaborate to gain efficiency. The goal was to deepen client relationships, gain efficiency and maximize value. Based on overwhelming client feedback, Parker Poe has met or is in the process of meeting those goals.

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The firm targeted key clients and offered to cover the cost of the certification from the Legal Lean Sigma Institute, which provided the training. A critical element in getting results was having the client relationship partner also take part in the course, spending the full two days working side-by-side with their client on a process the client chose. Parker Poe’s executive team also participated, taking a cross-functional approach to improving a key process for the firm: lateral attorney onboarding. The firm pushed boundaries for legal marketing and business development, as the course was the first of its kind in the Carolinas. Parker Poe was the first law firm in North Carolina and South Carolina to host an open enrollment course on process improvement and project management geared specifically for the legal profession.

More than 40 people attended, including clients from one of the largest U.S. banks, a leading wireless infrastructure provider, a national retailer, and a regional shipping company. Representatives from two international lawyer referral networks attended also. Over the two days, clients and Parker Poe attorneys teamed up to improve processes and deepen relationships. Each client interviewed afterward said the course would help them immediately add value to their company, using the lessons they learned to improve one or more processes. Parker Poe attorneys also learned how they can help relieve pain points from the clients’ perspective. And the firm’s executive team is rolling out changes to streamline the lateral onboarding process and eliminate waste. The project also helped raise Parker Poe’s profile. A story detailing the course ran in The American Lawyer, the Daily Report and Law.com. The ACC Docket will publish an article about it this spring co-authored by Parker Poe’s CMBDO.