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Exclusive: Cleary Gottlieb staff told to "superplease" clients
08 March 2013
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A Cleary Gottlieb partner has made plain how he thinks fee-earners should deal with client expectations: raise them.

Stopping short of telling them to grease up and bend over in reception, Michael McDonald has emailed the firm's trainees and associates instructing them how to "superplease" clients. His covering note warns nervous recipients that they need to start superpleasing "internal clients" too, i.e. partners like him:

McDonald's manifesto contains some sensible advice and plenty of harmless blah ("Be a solution finder"), but staff might be advised to ignore some of the other tips. Like the ones requiring them to:

  • give out their personal mobile phone numbers to clients so they can "always reach you"
  • "adjust holiday plans if essential to the client"
  • "be attentive to their personal needs if they are under stress". It is unclear if this extends to a back rub, a dance or dressing them up as a baby and feeding them rusks*.
Other tips are more likely to make clients superfreak out. McDonald apparently expects fee-earners to:

  • "make it personal" on a client's birthday
  • entertain clients "preferably with spouse/partner"
  • regularly call or visit clients "off-deal"
  • send clients "topical press clippings (drawing to their attention legal aspects)". Because who doesn't appreciate getting an annotated sheaf of Estates Gazette articles from the lawyer who gave them one half of a broken heart locket and calls them every week trying to arrange a double date.
Insiders told RollOnFriday they are particularly superpleased with McDonald's suggestion that they should "set realistic deadlines" and then "always exceed them". Here's the full list, to stick on your fridge:

*But Cleary staff should be aware that as an internal client Michael McDonald expects the same attentive treatment.


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