CONF-DEC2022 Sexxion XI – Managing & Leveraging Client Relationships

Who are your best clients?

 Where should you focus your attention on business development from your exis1ng clients?


The client pyramids

The first step is to develop a better understanding of your client base. In most law firms, there is a rough “80-20 rule” that describes a firm’s client base. Approximately 80% of a firm’s fee revenue is typically produced by approximately 20% of its clients. These percentages vary to some extent among law firms, but they tend to cluster around these values. For example, a firm that has only a relatively small number of clients for whom it performs corporate and commercial work might have an even higher concentration, with as few as 5% of the clients providing 80% to 90% of the firm’s fees. By contrast, firms with practices that involve mostly high-volume matters, such as trademarks, collections, or insured defense claims, will usually have a much lower concentration, with, for example, 60% of the clients providing 80% of the fees. Nonetheless, we have observed that the “80-20 rule” is a reasonably accurate description of client base performance in law firms of all sizes worldwide. It is very important to note that the “80-20 rule” is merely a description of a financial phenomenon that commonly occurs in law firms. It is not a “standard” or “best practice.”

Norman K. Clark
Walker Clark LLC
Fort Myers, Florida


Norman Clark is one of the founders and currently the managing principal of Walker Clark.

He has advised law firms and other legal services organizations in more than 70
countries on strategy, governance, business development, and sustainable profitability, with a special emphasis on the challenges facing law firms in emerging and fastchanging legal markets.


Norm is a retired member of the Pennsylvania bar. Before becoming a full-time
consultant to the legal profession 26 years ago, Norm served the legal profession in a
variety of roles, such as trial lawyer, trial judge, law professor, legal advisor to senior
government officials, and senior manager of an 800-lawyer international legal services organization.


In addition to being a member of the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, he is a past chair of the Law Firm Management Committee of the International Bar Association, past co-chair of the ABA Cross-Border Practice Management Committee, and a prolific author and frequent speaker at legal conferences worldwide. He currently is a member of the Advisory Board of the IBA Law Firm Management Committee and the IBA Poverty and Social Development Committee, and a member of the IBA Latin American Regional Forum and the Asia-Pacific Regional Forum, as well as a member of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, where he serves on several committees
related to the international practice of law.


Norman Clark is a published author and commentator on law firm strategy and
management. His most recent book publications include:

  • Good Governance in Law Firms: A Strategic Approach to Executive Decision Making and Management Structures (London: Globe Business Publishing, Ltd., 2014), which he edited and to which he contributed several chapters
  • “Business Development in the Law Firm of the Future: Focus and Infrastructure” in Business Development: A Practical Handbook for Lawyers (London: Globe Law and Business, Ltd., 2016)
  • “Table Manners: Rewarding Performance without ‘Eat What You Kill’,” in Partner Remuneration in Law Firms: A Guide to Reward Structures, Performance Management and Decision-Making (London: Globe Law and Business, Ltd., 2016)
  • “Preparing to Welcome the Trojan Horse,” in Managing Your Legal Organisation (New Delhi: Magic Lawyers, 2016)
  • Sustainable Profitability in a Disrupted Legal Market (London: Globe Law and Business, Ltd., 2019), which he co-authored with Lisa M. Walker Johnson
  • Outsourcing of Core Legal Service Functions: How to Capitalize on Opportunities for Law Firms (London: Globe Law and Business, 2021), which he edited and to which he contributed two chapters which he co-authored with Fernando Moreno
  • Eradicating Poverty Through Social Development: A Practical Guide for Lawyers (London, International Bar Association, 2021), which he co-edited with Neil Gold and to which he contributed a chapter on social entrepreneurship