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January 24, 2006

Rule Seven: Know the Client.

Rule Seven: Know the Client.

The "12 Rules of Client Service" I have been posting one-by-one starting on November 19 appear in a booklet Julie McGuire and I prepared internally 5 years ago for associates and non-lawyer staff. We just call it Hull McGuire Practice Guide* (*or how to become a productive associate or paralegal). In the Guide, we call the same rules "Blackletter Rules for Practicing Law". The idea is that each of the twelve overall practice rules harks back to the idea that the client comes first. Clients, clients, clients. For us, that is practicing law. Except for some rewording, the 2 sets of rules are substantially the same. The first six rules are reproduced here.

Several lawyer-bloggers I respect have posted--and in some very eloquent and interesting ways--on the idea of Rule 7, really knowing the client and its culture. I think they say it all. See Tom Kane, Patrick Lamb, Tom Collins and Arnie Herz. Some of the discussion lately was triggered by the nerve jangling report of complaints of some GCs at a Fulton County, Georgia CLE conference in early December 2005. I've chimed in on that, too--here and here.

The client, it seems, actually wants you to know him, her or it. Take time out to learn the stock price, industry, day-to-day culture, players and overall goals of your client. Visit their offices and plants. Do it free of charge. Associates in particular need to develop the habit of finding out about and keeping up with clients (and a client's trials and tribulations) in and out of the areas they are working in. Learn about your client--and keep learning about it. Devise a system to keep abreast.

Posted by JD Hull at January 24, 2006 10:10 PM

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