There’s a significant gap in what most law firms deliver in terms of client needs and services and the problem for law firms in how to bridge this gap. Many law firm partners currently even fail to recognise that the gap exists. However, without understanding this expectation gap and working collaboratively with clients to close it, many legal service providers will face long-term issues.
Long before the outbreak of Covid-19, in-house legal counsel complained of a growing expectation divide between what they and their external legal service providers (in good faith) perceived their legal needs to be. In the words of a general counsel, it might have been described thus:
If you were to ask our relationship partner at [insert name of law firm] whether she or he understands our needs and priorities, the answer would be a “yes, of course”. And that would be a sincere, honest response. The problem is – what our relationship partners perceive to be our needs, and what we believe them to be, are very different things.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic widened this gap? What do law firms need to do in order to bridge the divide? How is it even possible, in such a deeply client-centric profession as the law, for such expectation gaps to exist between lawyers and their clients in the first place?