How Law Firms Can Support Client Listening During COVID-19 & Social Distancing

May 2, 2020

By Guest Author Derek Jones, CEO of Acuigen

The checklist below provides a range of ideas to help law firms, their lawyers & the legal marketing community stay ready to respond and deliver a valued service to colleagues and clients during social distancing.

STEP 1: Create a plan

  • < 8 weeks – emergency response period
  • 2 – 6 months – recovery begins … focus on being there for your clients, understand their new landscape and future priorities
  • 6 – 12 months – recovery continues, new business models emerge, be ready to respond to the changing business and legal landscape, unexpected competition, and land grabs from competitor law firms

STEP 2: Be ready to become a key source of information within your firm

Key Objectives

  • What’s going on in our clients’ world?
  • How are their priorities changing?
  • What service and support will be needed, and when?

Who needs the information?

  • Relationship Partners – for matter management
  • C Suite – to shape the business of law within the firm
  • Leadership – to make strategic decisions
  • Risk and Compliance – risk mitigation
  • Clients – reflect messages back to the marketplace

STEP 3: Recognize the potential challenges ahead

  • Challenge 1 – Ensure that feedback collected from clients is relevant and done in a way that you can compare with other feedback
  • Challenge 2 – Capture accurate, pertinent and insightful information in a way that you can easily share
  • Challenge 3 – Come to evidence-based conclusions

STEP 4: Select an interview method appropriate to the importance of the client

Interview methods for client listening programs

Interviewing Considerations

  • Be aware of the cultural expectations of your firm and work within their culture
  • Be respectful of what is going on in your clients’ world, both professionally and personally
  • Consider what type of communication clients will appreciate
  • Make sure your conversations with clients reflect the current situation
  • Be considerate and sensitive when interviewing
  • Remain astute to competitor actions and intent


  • April 2020 – now is the time to plan your recovery
  • Identify your highest risk category of clients – those who may have been most affected by the pandemic, how can you best support them?
  • What will be your leader’s key needs immediately after they have moved from the emergency phase? What information will they need? What information will senior partners/attorneys need?       Which clients can provide the information? How long will it take to gather this information?

Revisit privacy constraints and understand the implications of handling sensitive client information (e.g. medical comments … under GDPR this type of personal information is ‘special category data’, and requires additional security measures)

Process for planning a client listening program


  • Do we have enough interviewing resource?
  • When is our interview resource available?
  • When will clients be available?
  • Which clients are we going to talk to, about which topic?
  • How frequently is it permissible to engage with clients?
  • Have clients changed their working patterns?
  • How will we facilitate interviews and how will they be undertaken?
  • How will we process the information?
  • Who will make sure information is acted upon?

This Insight was guest authored by:

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