• Q&A

Why this law firm always enters the Client Choice Awards

Entries to the 2020 Client Choice Awards are now open. These are the only multi-profession awards that are adjudicated by those whose views matter most - the client!

Last year we had over 100 entrants and one of the firms that won on the night, Gilbert + Tobin, has been a regular entrant since its inception over 15 years ago!

This year they were the very first firm to enter the Awards.

In Today’s Q&A on Research.Reveal. George Beaton talks with Sam Nickless, Chief Operating Officer at Gilbert + Tobin, about what the Awards mean to his firm and how they use their success to inform their marketing, talent acquisition and business strategies.


Q: Thank you for agreeing to chat about Gilbert + Tobin’s history with the Client Choice Awards. Firstly, congratulations to Gilbert + Tobin for winning two awards at the 2019 Client Choice Awards!

A: Thank you very much. We were very pleased to win those two Awards – especially the one for the most improvement in NPS – this shows our people how the efforts we’re making in this area are being appreciated by our clients.


Q: Those were our 15th annual Client Choice Awards. Gilbert + Tobin was an entrant in our very first Awards in 2005 and you have regularly entered since, so much so that you were our very first entrant for the 2020 Awards! Why does the Firm keep coming back?

A: We like that these Awards are based on responses from clients – the more we can understand about what clients are saying the better. Also our marketing team loves that they don’t have to write submissions required in other awards.


Q: As a firm that has regularly won our law firm Awards and innovation Awards, what does winning mean to you and your team?

A: We don’t set out to make improvements in our business with the aim to win awards, but they are important to see that we are doing the right things. They also are a motivating way to recognise our team that has does the hard work to help us win.


Q: How do you use the fact of being a winner in Gilbert + Tobin’s business development activities, including when responding to expressions of interest, tenders and proposals?

A: When the Awards are announced we run internal and external media to celebrate our success. In proposals and tenders, law firms make lots of claims about themselves – being able to back these up with the external validation of an Award from clients is uniquely positive.


Q: What message is sent to the talent market when your firm is recognised for excellent service by clients? How does it influence your recruitment activities?

A: People who are thinking of joining a firm want to know that it is well set up for the future. Our recruits are particularly keen to know that we are listening to our clients and innovating to be successful in the future. The Client Choice Awards are social proof of this.


Q: As you know, the client ratings that are used to adjudicate the Client Choice Awards are also used to inform our beatonbenchmarks reports and other custom analyses. In what ways do you use these products to shape your business, brand and client experience strategies?

A: We look forward to the results each year to see whether we are making progress. We’ve used them for a while now, so the longitudinal insights, i.e. multi-year trends, are now very useful. In particular, we used them to help us take a different approach in some markets to others – for example to focus on awareness in a market where we are newer (such as Melbourne) and consideration in Sydney where we are more established.


Q: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who was on the fence about whether they should enter their firm?

A: I know there are a lot of awards – but I believe awards where clients are the only arbiter should be among the few to enter each year.

Comment: Sam, thanks so much for taking the time to share what the Client Choice Awards mean to Gilbert + Tobin and you!


Entries to the 2020 Client Choice Awards are now open. The awards are open to all types of professional services firms, not just law firms. Accounting firms, specialist IP firms and firms that work in the built environment, including consulting engineers, architects, planners and many more, are warmly encouraged to enter.