December 10, 2009
Can we change how good clients think about lawyers?
The work of a bricklayer goes to the blue.
The knack of a mason outlasts a moon.
The hands of a plasterer hold a room together.
The land of a farmer wishes him back again.
--Carl Sandburg (1878-1967), author, editor, poet, Pulitzer winner.
But first: Hearse Horses, anyone? Do you love what you do? Step back from the canvas and try some simple tool sharpening. Bone up on your fundamentals, maybe. Your techniques. Do you need some new ideas? How does your firm do its work these days? Do you get things right? What do you teach associates?
Now step back further. What of this Lawyering Thing?
Clients? What is it you really do for them? You serve, right? You mix your products and services with an overall experience that makes you unique, right? Or are you and yours indistinguishable from the rest of the generic law cattle out there? Is your firm really different?
Step back again. Are you problem-solvers?
Or just part of an insular and self-important "club" that needs clients as equipment to pursue a daily game?
Does practicing law and serving turn you on? Or is it just a past choice you, or your partners, made--maybe one that hardened around you too long ago--and now regret?
Carl August Sandburg: "The lawyers, Bob, know too much..."
Too many people practice law who should not. Practicing law is hard.
Client service is just as hard. But many people with law degrees--there are way too many of us in the U.S.--don't get that. Or they don't love it. If either applies to you, or to your colleagues, it's not too late to "get it", to get it back, to love it (again or for the first time) or just to try something different and new.
The law is not for everyone. And to do it right day-in and -out is a hard order. A privilege, too.
If you wish to stay in the profession, try to make it what it can and should be. Visit our world-famous, annoying, counter-intuitive but dead-on accurate 12 Rules of Client Service. See "Rule Four: Deliver legal services that change the way clients think about lawyers".
Posted by JD Hull at December 10, 2009 11:59 PM
Thanks for this one. "Step back . . . . "
It's the "Your money or your life?" question, isn't it?
Once I start gazing at my clients and stop gazing at my wallet, I HAVE a life. Because I am doing what is important. Important to THEM.
Amazingly, my wallet takes care of itself. And I get to see my 5th grader perform as Bottom in A Midsummer's Night Dream at school.
Posted by: Phil Hodgen at December 10, 2009 02:50 PM