Having recently done some work with local Government legal departments on the subject, I was delighted to be invited to the LGG (Local Government Lawyers) Annual Weekend School in Exeter to facilitate a session for business managers on client relationship management.

So in an interaction session on Client Relationship Management (CRM) for local government lawyers, we talked through the scope, systems, steps and skills required and considered research from commercial legal firms that could be applied to the public sector. The latest information on Key Account Management (KAM) programmes was also considered.

I promised to provide a summary of the main points that arose during the discussion:


  • Strategy
    • Balancing the conflicting drivers for internal efficiencies and meeting client needs
    • Meeting internal standards, regulatory demands and client needs with limited resources
    • Demonstrating value in a contracted service
  • Clients
    • Dealing with informed clients and users who were unfamiliar with legal process
    • Understanding what clients need and tailoring services to their needs
    • Educating clients (with on-line information and guidance)
    • The differences between internal and external clients
    • Managing expectations – service promises versus delivery
  • Resources
    • Costs and time management in a local authority
    • Comprehensive information systems (client details, service performance, value delivered etc)
  • Staff
    • Establishing a client-centric culture
    • Engaging lawyers and legal staff in client care and relationship management processes
    • Promoting consistency of service across the organisation
    • Changing entrenched attitudes and behaviours

Aims, objectives and KPIs for CRM:

  • Align with county/local authority aims and strategy
  • Have a long term vision for what is to be achieved
  • Client satisfaction and feedback
  • Client retention and development
  • Understand client needs
  • Collaboration and partnership with clients
  • Client success (safeguarding etc)
  • Costs and efficiency
  • Benchmarking
  • Time recharging
  • Staff retention
  • Address known problems and issues

Best practice and planned actions:

  • Take time out to talk one-to-one to clients to assess their needs
  • Introduce regular client satisfaction assessments
  • Focus on the largest and most important clients
  • Develop detailed client plans to capture preferences
  • Include relationship management in lawyer job descriptions
  • Involve senior legal managers in account management
  • Develop client portals to provide information and promote collaboration

Sally Longmate, Practice Manager at Suffolk County Council commented “From a Legal Practice Manager perspective this session gave us some helpful tips and an interesting commercial perspective on customer relations.  As in-house teams trading in a variety of ways with a range of internal and external clients we were left with lots of great ideas to try in lots of different ways”.

Further details: http://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/

Twitter: @LGGLegal