Lathrop & Gage has 320 lawyers nationwide serving clients in litigation, intellectual property, and business. It has offices in several major metropolitan areas across the United States.
Lathrop & Gage knew it needed an automated approach to managing its client entertainment, but that meant making a change across multiple offices. How could it get all its locations across the United States up to speed on a new system with zero downtime?
Katherine Hubbard knew something had to change. Her employer, Lathrop & Gage, was still managing all its client entertainment manually in multiple offices across the country. The firm had a proud history. Considered one of the best law firms in America by publications like U.S. News, Fortune, and The Best Lawyers in America, Lathrop & Gage was founded 1873, when it opened its first office in Kansas City.
The firm had expanded nationally since then, opening offices across the country—including Boston, St. Louis, Boulder, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Attorneys recognized client entertainment was an effective way to deepen relationships with current & prospective clients, but the system was limiting: attorneys could only see the events available in their immediate location, and each office tracked client entertainment manually.
As a client campaign manager who had once been an event planner, Katherine knew just how cumbersome the process could be.
When an attorney wanted event tickets for a client, they emailed the regional ticket administrator in their office to learn what was available. After selecting tickets, the administrator would log each request into a spreadsheet for tracking and reporting. This manual approach could be challenging even at a single office, but with several locations in play, the complexity quickly grew. Regional reports were then sent to head office for company-wide tracking of entertainment assets. But the sheer workload generated by this manual process ultimately negated the reason it had been created: everyone was so busy maintaining the system that little analysis was being done to determine if the firm’s client entertainment was being used effectively.
Spreadsheets—it was a lot of spreadsheets, a lot of personal phone calls, and a lot of emails going back and forth.”
Katherine Hubbard, Client Campaign Manager
This manual process also made it difficult to ensure entertainment assets were being used correctly. Although Katherine and her team would occasionally send emails for feedback after an event—and to check if the person in question had actually attended—the demands of maintaining this manual process often prevented such follow-up from happening.
In June 2015, Lathrop & Gage realized the time had come to implement a real solution to handle its client entertainment. “We finally reached a breaking point,” recalls Hubbard. “We had hired Abbey Buchanan as our new marketing events assistant, and we realized the time had come to look at different options strategically. Otherwise we would always find ourselves just trying to keep our heads above water.”
The firm began discussing solutions with InviteManager, with special emphasis on creating an easy onboarding process so its administrators across the country could move into a single, automated system. Hubbard began informing administrators in October 2015 that they would soon have a new, streamlined approach to client entertainment. She explained how the firm had outgrown its manual processes, and described the benefits a consolidated system would bring.
[Onboarding] was a thorough process, and I’m glad we did it right.
Katherine Hubbard, Client Campaign Manager
In January, administrators across the firm received invitations to attend webinar training sessions to learn the new system. They were taught how to make use of every key feature of InviteManager: from adding events, to reviewing requests for tickets, to running detailed reports showing client spend and other key metrics. The following month, the firm’s attorneys were introduced to InviteManager and taught how to use the system to see what events were available, and how to request these events for their clients.
“It was a thorough process,” recalls Hubbard, “and I’m glad we did it right. It ensured that people were comfortable with the new way of doing things. Everything worked perfectly, and our leadership really bought into the change.”
Attorneys could suddenly see not only the events around them, but also those across the organization.That meant tickets could be requested for clients who were traveling, or who wished to attend a live event taking place further away from home. With over 200 real-time reports available, the firm could also track which attorneys and clients were using events, how much these events cost, and their return on investment—right down to every seat purchased.
“We can now easily look a client up and see how much entertainment we have invested in them,” notes Katherine. “And we can easily track what we’re doing for top clients and clients we are seeking to grow. We’re able to be much more precise with how our client entertainment is deployed.”
Reflecting on the changes made shortly after joining as Lathrop & Gage’s Marketing Events Assistant, Abbey Buchanan agrees:
“InviteManager lets our attorneys request events right in the system. I’ve been able to add new value to the firm by focusing on other activities instead of managing everyone’s requests manually.”
We are extremely happy with InviteManager. I can’t imagine going back to our old system!
Abbey Buchanan, Marketing Events Assistant