Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

What Are Law Firms’ 10 Biggest Client Retention Challenges?

November 29, 2021 (3 min read)

By Eric Olson

One of the consensus lessons of the past year in the legal services industry is that marketing is absolutely core to the strategic success of law firms. Nearly eight in 10 law firm leaders say that marketing is an important piece of what is required to drive strategic outcomes in their organizations, according to the 2021 LexisNexis® InterAction Marketing & Business Development Survey*.

The survey, which polled firms of all sizes and from all over the world, also found that law firms expect to increase their marketing spend in 2021 by an average of 15%, with “high growth” firms raising their marketing budgets by 38% versus a 10% increase by “no growth” firms.

One of the key objectives of any law firm marketing and business development department is to implement strategies that will maximize client retention. Effective client retention efforts can be the difference between outperforming or underperforming a firm’s overall business development targets for the year. It’s not enough to just bring in new business through the front door, you also need to keep other business from slipping away.

In a previous blog post, we addressed the five leading challenges that law firms are facing right now when it comes to winning new business. In this post, we will take a look at some of the specific challenges that firms must confront in order to improve their client retention success, based on the findings of the LexisNexis Interaction survey.

Here are the top 10 client retention challenges that law firms are currently facing:

  1. Competition (cited by 43.3% of respondents)
  2. Lack of communication with clients (22.8%)
  3. Pricing models (21.6%)
  4. Need to improve data quality (18.7%)
  5. No long-term firm strategy (15.8%)
  6. No key account management structure in place (15.8%)
  7. Insufficient resources (15.2%)
  8. Obtaining lawyer participation (14.0%)
  9. Technology integration challenges (14.0%)
  10. Systems in place do not support processes effectively/efficiently (13.5%)

“In most years, law firm client retention challenges are variables a law firm can control, such as lack of communication, pricing, data quality, insufficient resources and lack of leadership support,” according to the LexisNexis InterAction survey report. “In 2020, however, that was not the case — competition dominated as the top client retention challenge.”

Indeed, competition was cited twice as often as almost every other client retention challenge confronting law firms today. Law firm clients and prospects are talking to the competition more often than in the past; the question is what can the firm’s marketing and business development professionals do about it?

One important step is to be among the first to know when a new case involving a client or prospect has been filed. This allows the firm to act quickly, engage with the client, and offer the firm’s services to assist the client before any competitors have the opportunity.

LexisNexis provides law firm marketing and business development teams with advanced information tools that facilitate smart growth, including the award-winning Lexis®️ CourtLink®️ service. Lexis CourtLink delivers immediate docket alerts on current and prospective clients, powered by the largest available collection of court dockets and documents.

Law firm marketing and business development professionals rely on Lexis CourtLink to: monitor breaking activity in the firm’s key practice areas and target markets; turn those new filings into new business; leverage powerful strategic profiles on the litigation history of specific companies to glean competitive intelligence; and increase client satisfaction by showcasing that the firm is on the leading edge of all litigation developments.

Client retention is a crucial component of any successful law firm business development strategy and rising competition has made it a greater challenge than ever. Law firm marketers need to leverage technology-enabled solutions that give them any competitive edge they can find.

Sign up for a free trial of Lexis CourtLink to learn more about how your firm can increase new business opportunities, client retention and client satisfaction.


*The study was commissioned by LexisNexis® InterAction, the leading CRM platform for professional services.

Eric Olson is the product manager for Lexis CourtLink. He has over 20 years’ experience helping organizations gain insight into court data, and leverage it to support their litigation and client development needs. Eric is based in Seattle, Washington.