What It Takes: Creating A “Cone of Professionalism” In Your Practice

I visited Paris in late October. While there, I ate at L’Astrance, a restaurant in the 16th arrondissement near the Trocadero that once possessed three Michelin Stars and was rated by one publication as the 18th best restaurant in the world. It was a sublime experience.

I love visiting Michelin starred restaurants; however, for me the food is almost secondary. I’m there more for the service and hospitality and to learn from the same.

At L’Astrance, there are perhaps only 8 tables in the dining room. Sum total, these tables can host perhaps 25 guests. There is only one service at dinner. Between the maitre d’, the sommelier, and their assistants, there were probably 6 staff members in the dining room at any given time. Stated simply: the focus was on service.

I was by myself for dinner. Accordingly, I was seated at a small table. I was facing the rest of the dining room from my vantage point. I could clearly see what was going on at all the tables from where I was. Upon reflection of that meal, I felt like an audience member in the front row of an intimate play being performed right in front of me.

L’Astrance, like many restaurants of its caliber, features a tasting menu. I opted for that, which was seven courses, along with a wine service.  It was clear from looking around that most of the patrons selected the same.

Once the dinner service began, the play began as well. As I’ve continued to think about that fantastic dinner, the phrase “Cone of Professionalism” came to me to describe what I saw and experienced during the service.

As the managing partner of my law firm, who is also responsible for our marketing effort, I think a great deal about competitive advantages in our marketplace. Defense-based law firms are operating in a very saturated and very competitive landscape. What sets one firm off from the other in the minds of a potential client? There can be many things that create distinction; one such item that can make a firm remarkable–like a Michelin starred restaurant–is how services are actually delivered.

The dining room at L’Astrance is at most 1000 square feet, a relatively small space. But in that space, the excellence that exists is palpable and magic in the form of a sublime guest experience is created. In that small space exists a “Cone of Professionalism” when it comes to the restaurant’s staff and their efforts.

In the “Cone of Professionalism,” there is complete focus and concentration. The staff at L’Astrance is laser-focused on providing their guests with an exceptional dining experience. They are attentive to every detail, from the moment you walk in the door until you leave.

There is also excellence in execution. The staff at L’Astrance is meticulous in everything they do. They not only meet the standard of what a great restaurant is considered to be, they blow right past it. They take pride in their work and are committed to providing their guests with the best possible experience.

Finally, there is delivery of tremendous product. The food at L’Astrance is simply exquisite. It is prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients and is cooked to perfection. Each dish is a bespoke work of art.

The combination of these three factors–complete focus and concentration, excellence in execution, and delivery of tremendous product–results in an exceptional guest experience. Guests at L’Astrance feel pampered and special. They leave the restaurant feeling satisfied and wanting more. For sure, they’re going to tell others about their experience.

This type of exceptional experience is what every law firm should strive to provide. When you create a “Cone of Professionalism” in your firm, you will create loyal clients who will refer additional business to you, as well as tell their colleagues about you.

Here are some specific things that law firms can do to create a Cone of Professionalism:

  • Be attentive to your clients’ needs. Make sure you are always available to answer their questions and address their concerns.
  • Be proactive. Don’t wait for your clients to come to you with issues and problems. Anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations.
  • Be detail-oriented. Pay attention to the small things. Make sure your work product is error-free and that you are continually organized in your case handling.
  • Be a good communicator. Keep your clients informed about the progress of their cases at every point of the representation. Be clear and concise in your explanations.
  • Be professional in everything you do and in every aspect of your provision of services.


L’Astrance provides a dining experience that is both exceptional and memorable. The restaurant’s dedicated staff create an atmosphere of focus and professionalism, ensuring that each guest feels pampered and special. The food, prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients and cooked to perfection, is a true work of art. The combination of these factors results in an experience that is truly unforgettable.

Law firms can learn from L’Astrance by creating a “Cone of Professionalism” in their own practices. By being attentive to clients’ needs, being proactive, being detail-oriented, being a good communicator, and being professional, law firms can create a loyal clientele who in turn become your greatest evangelists.


What It Takes is a special series by Christian Stegmaier regarding building a law practice, which is both remarkable and scalable.

About Christian Stegmaier
Senior Shareholder

Christian Stegmaier is a shareholder and chair of the Retail & Hospitality Practice Group at Collins & Lacy in Columbia. He is also active in the firm’s professional liability and appellate practices. Stegmaier welcomes your questions at (803) 255-0454 or cstegmaier@collinsandlacy.com.