Lessons Regarding Client Relationships

This week I attended the Advocates’ Society’s Mentoring Dinner Series Building Trusted Client Relationships.

The following comments stood out:

  1. Often times if clients are ignoring you, it is because you remind them of a traumatic event (the one that you are litigating). And clients would rather forget the event all together than deal with you. Remind them that you are there to help them. But if you cannot get instructions, you will remove yourself as counsel. You won’t risk looking bad before the court.
  2. Client referrals frequently come from opposing counsel (e.g. they have been conflicted out). Be mindful of this, and be collegial when dealing with opposing counsel. They can be one of your greatest sources of clients.
  3. When courting existing or new clients, don’t be afraid to explicitly ask them for work or more work. Don’t ask, don’t get.
  4. Ask clients for honest feedback. Ask them what can I do better? What have I done well? What would you like to see more of?
  5. Aim to eventually be partially or fully self-sustaining with your caseload. Ways to get there include: networking lunches; giving speeches / setting up a booth at venues that clients frequent (e.g. trade shows, conferences); and contributing to the legal community through speaking engagements, writing, and networking events.
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