Came across this today and they seem like words to practice by:
- People come to lawyers to get solutions. They have a problem that needs to be fixed. Listen and make sure you understand their problem before you go off doing your legal stuff. Some problems don’t require a legal hammer, just common sense. Remember that they are buying a solution. Don’t make the mistake a young lawyer in our firm made when he explained that what the firm sold was billable hours. (Groan.)
- If you do a good job for your clients at a good price, they’ll come back or send their friends. If you can’t help them, you shouldn’t take their money. They won’t be happy, you won’t feel good, and the karma will be very bad indeed, otherwise.
- The practice of law is a business as well as a profession. If you don’t take care of business, you won’t be able to practice law. Surviving as a business can require as much of your time as practicing law. It’s this simple: You need to earn more money than you spend. (You say you let other people take care of that stuff? Well, maybe that will work for you. But I recommend you buy some good walking shoes, because I see a pavement in your future.)
- People hire lawyers not law firms. All your fancy-pants advertising, branding and market segmentation won’t get you past a crappy personality, poor communication skills, failure to respond to calls or any of the other reasons people fire their lawyers. Clients are going to assess your commitment to their cause and the chemistry of your relationship regardless of how spiffy your website is.
- Listen. I know they train you in law school to know the answers and know them before anyone else. This isn’t law school. It’s likely to be the wrong answer if you speak too quickly. Besides, if you leave a silent space in the conversation, your client is more likely to fill it with something useful that you didn’t expect. See number four above: People like that you listen to them.