Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Avoid being labeled "just another arrogant attorney."

I get a lot of comments when I tell people I coach lawyers. Some of them have a hard time believing me. They're sure you think you know everything. They think lawyers are arrogant.

Doesn't matter how the perception grew. What matters is that you show them that YOU are not one of those arrogant attorneys! Some reminders:

  • Listen and maintain eye contact, if you take notes, say something about it- "I'm going to take a few notes to be sure...."
  • Take the time to understand the client's position
  • Put yourself in your client's shoes
  • Use your client's language
  • Ask how your client would like to get communication, and how frequently
  • Manage expectations every step of the way
  • Return phone calls and acknowledge emails promptly
  • Take a relationship view
  • Interrupt or put words in a client's mouth
  • Assume
  • Be afraid to say "I don't know"
  • Ever lie or even exaggerate
  • Promise anything you can't deliver
  • Answer or check your phone or computer during a client appointment
  • Equate customer value with fees
  • Focus on the transaction
  • Accept work if you have any intuition that you shouldn't
The last key action is to ASK clients how you're doing, whether it's during a matter that has a long timeline or as part of your exit process.

Best-selling books have been written about how to nurture relationships with clients. The main thing is to be aware of how you are with your clients so you can be sure that you treat them with respect.

Maybe the bottom line is to do unto others as you'd have them do unto your mom!