Here is part two of three posts reviewing a recent Washington Lawyer article (It's the Clients, Stupid) that summarizes what clients want. LegalJob provides suggestions on how to implement each of three ideas below.
1.) I hire lawyers, not firms.
The article points out that clients do not appreciate being pawned off by the relationship lawyer to other lawyers in the firm who are actually doing the work. So, the relationship lawyer may want to be up front about who will be on the team doing the work and make clear that he or she will be accountable for all -- the work product, meeting the client’s needs, budget and excessive legal fees, etc.
The relationship lawyer may also want to take the client to lunch (or set aside an hour to talk on the phone) regularly to discuss what is working well and what could be improved from the client’s perspective.
2.) You don’t need to be “all that.”
The article points out that arrogance (and the lawyer thinking they are the smartest person in the room) is generally not a helpful quality in the attorney-client relationship.
Armed with this information, lawyers can take comfort in the fact that their value is not necessarily tied to their intelligence level. So, when presenting information to the client, they do not need to know the minutia, your penchant for details, and prowess at reading statutes. Instead, clients generally appreciate the lawyer who can translate complex concepts into bite-size, digestible formats and synthesize lots of information into just what they need to know to make decisions.
3.) We are not friends.
The article suggests that lawyers should be careful of taking the relationship too far.
A friendship may develop from the relationship and that is okay. But, if a friendship does develop, the lawyer may want to be mindful that he or she remains responsible to be of service to the client, including anticipating the client needs and applying the same energy and resolve toward the client’s problem as they do their own.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net