LPM Tip

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If you want happy clients, try offering solutions

As lawyers, we are risk managers. An important part of our job is to identify the risks associated with different courses of action. Our clients come to us because they want to know what they should do in a particular situation. While offering our clients an analysis of risk is certainly an important aspect of good lawyering, most clients also want to know your opinion. That is why they hired you.

When you consult a doctor about a health issue, you expect the doctor to present you with the treatment options and the risks associated with each plan of action. But most of us also want the doctor to render an opinion of which option is best. You may end up seeking out other opinions and researching options on your own. Ultimately, you may decide not to follow the doctor's advice. But you appreciate the fact that the doctor is trying to help you make an informed decision by giving you his or her opinion.

People hire lawyers so they can sleep better at night. If all you do is present your clients with a laundry list of what can go wrong, most clients are likely to be dissatisfied. They are not going to sleep better because you have done nothing to narrow their options. Presumably, you have a lot more experience dealing with the matter at hand (or at least the legal risks associated with the particular transaction or controversy).

So let your clients know what you think they should do. They may not follow your advice, but they will respect you for having an opinion and they are more likely to turn to you in the future.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published August 16, 2012

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To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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