Small law firms that think they cannot compete with larger firms are simply wrong. If they do what is right! Many large firms don’t. I ran across a great article from the New York Law Journal by Joy Newton and Richard Skoller that appeared in Small Firm Business magazine entitled How to Get a Corporate Client
It contains many excellent suggestions that I like on how a small firm could distinguish itself in providing outstanding client service by:
*Offering to “Lend a Lawyer” (many in-house law departments are shorthanded)
*Meeting other temporary client needs (office space, conference room, help with press release, for example),
*Helping keep corporate law departments up to speed on the law by hosting CLE seminars,
*Knowing your client’s industry and keep them abreast of issues/problems you learn before they call you for advice,
*Learning about your client’s business goals, and introduce them to others who can help them achieve those goals,
*Doing the “easy stuff” right (return calls promptly, don’t bill for an associate along for training, make bills understandable, or not checking your Blackberry� during a meeting),
* Knowing and respecting budget constraints while avoiding surprises that will make the in-house lawyer look bad (obviously, that won’t be good for your firm either),
*Shoot straight in terms of your firm’s capabilities relating to a matter, especially when trying to cross-sell another firm lawyer, and
*Stay in touch so the relationship will continue to grow.

This article is definitely worth a read.