Attorney Resolutions: 5 habits that will ensure happy clients this year
The beginning of a new year often calls for reflection on ways to improve oneself or one’s habits — resolutions. For attorneys, it is no different. We pride ourselves on our ability to help our clients and ensure satisfaction in the way they are treated and should take time to make certain that we are doing our best each year.
That being said, I am amazed at how many times we are asked to intercede after another law firm has handled the case for an extended period of time. I’m sharing this post for all those lawyers out there who have their cases stolen by other law firms after they have represented a given client for a long time in hopes that it will keep you from making the same mistakes in the New Year.
When clients come to us after leaving prior representation, we get to hear the reasons why they decided to go elsewhere. I’d like to shed some light on the things that will help you keep your clients happy and will ensure that your firm’s reputation remains untarnished. (I have not blogged about this topic previously because we get a good number of cases by other attorneys’ errors. We seldom lose a case because our Cultural Code of Conduct demands we pay close attention to our clients.)
The rule is pretty simple: Talk to your clients!
As a young lawyer, I was once invited to meet a politician running for governor at a local attorney’s house. I clearly remember some amazingly simple and incredibly important advice that was given to me that evening. Those pearls of wisdom became the foundation on which I built my own law firm, and now, I’d like to pass them on to you.
Building and maintaining a strong attorney-client relationship can be achieved by adopting these 5 effortless habits:
- Call your clients often.
- Listen to what they say. They have the information necessary to win their case.
- Make clients a priority. They need to be called back quickly.
- Never take for granted that you “own the case” because the client chose you first.
- Value each client like they are your family.
As straightforward as these tips may sound, it was some of the best advice I have ever received. It may sound completely obvious to an outsider, but when you are living the reality of handling a large number of cases while trying to balance your personal and professional life, the mix gets muddled. Many times lawyers shut their emotional door on their clients, and consequently, destroy the bonds of that relationship or never fully develop it to begin with.
I have lived this juggling act between client and family for more than 20 years. I understand the emotional dynamic. Experience taught me early on that having an emotional bond with my client allows me to be the best lawyer I can be. That bond transcends my personal abilities and allows me to communicate the true essence of my clients’ injuries to the adjuster and, eventually, to a jury.
I can’t tell you what makes other law firms successful, though I can almost guarantee that thriving practices with happy clients all have these tenets as the main underpinnings of their firm’s values. What TRULY makes a client happy? Well, I can tell you what makes our firm worth seeking out: We work hard to live up to that standard at LaBovick Law Group; our attorneys are personally invested in their matters. We believe in our client’s cause, and we fight as hard for them as we would for our own family. We give our clients accurate advice. We never lead a client astray or intentionally exaggerate the estimated value of a case just to keep a client around.
Everyone involved in any given case must deal with the analysis, which gets everyone as close as possible to the case “truths.” That includes “feeling” the true significance of the injuries. By doing this, we create tremendous value. We are a contingency law firm, which means we don’t get paid unless we are able to collect damages. We are literally partners in the deal. So we must do all we can to create better value in the case.
That emotional connection and caring is what you want in a personal injury trial lawyer. That lawyer will fight to create the maximum value for your injury matter, remembering all the while that you, as a person, are at the core of the case.
If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind, do not settle for an attorney who treats you like you are just another file in a settlement mill. You should never be made to feel like a “cog in the wheel of a giant machine.” You must be treated like you are a family member of the attorney assigned to your case. Demand that attention from the day you sign your contract until the day you sign your settlement agreement. If you don’t get that level of attention, then fire your lawyer and choose another firm immediately.
As we begin a new year, we resolve – as a firm – to never stray from our core values and continue to make you, our client, the priority. If any client reads this and feels an attorney within our firm isn’t living up to this standard, call me immediately. I WILL rectify the situation and will work hard to make you are a happy and fulfilled client.
Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!