Foster relational trust. The main factor in promoting cooperation is the promotion of trust, both relational and competency-based, among all members of the company. Face-to-face meetings and events, such as partner retreats and practice groups, allow people to develop interpersonal connections. Many companies find that events involving families or spouses help lawyers develop stronger bonds, because people have the change of seeing the non-work aspects of their colleagues` personalities. Secondary relationships, such as friendships between spouses, also help promote trust, as these networks of relationships lead people to behave better with each other. Encourage staff as much as possible to build strong bonds – among themselves and with partners – not only because their relationships can be important accelerators for an effective team, but also because this trust will advance their business development efforts as they move forward in the company. Effective steps include a budget for colleagues` lunch (or even vouchers for coffee) and invitations for executives to show up at practice group meetings. Of course, there is a fear that by institutionalizing customers, cooperation will end up undermining margins. The logic is this: now that the company is a larger position on General Counsel`s budget sheet, he or she will have the leverage to negotiate a quantity discount and other promotional gifts.
Why bother doing more work for less money? Our research suggests that this possibility is real, but that customers served by multi-practice engagements are on average more profitable in the long run. Data from some large international law firms show that profitability (in percentage terms) remains almost stable, as more firms are included in a client`s service mix. Of course, the numbers change depending on how narrowly you define the practices, the „magnetic practice” that anchored the initial relationship, etc., but the results show on average fairly constant margins, even as the size of the account increases. Given that companies earn about the same percentage with a much higher turnover, it is clear that the total benefits of the inter-practice service are significant. Cooperation is increasingly important in today`s law firms. The complex, international and inclusive nature of legal work requires professionals to combine their professional expertise in order to successfully serve the most attractive clients.. . . .