Jay Foonberg, an icon of lawyer marketing, has an excerpt from the 5th edition of his book How to Start and Build a Law Practice that appears in this month’s Law Practice Today. He provides us with a short lesson on how to listen to clients and otherwise treat them with the utmost respect during a meeting. Some pearls of wisdom:
*Tell your staff person to hold all calls (if there are exceptions, let client know up front),
*Let client know they have your full, uninterrupted attention (except as noted),
*Look at the client while they talk,
*Take notes, and frequently summarize your understanding of what client said, and
*At the conclusion of meeting, ask client if there is anything they want to say or ask – then pause for a period of time to give them a chance to respond.
In this way, the client will feel that you really listened to them. Jay notes that a recent ABA survey reported that 95% of satisfied clients believe their lawyer listened to them, but among dissatisfied clients, only 42% shared that feeling. As his father told him, with two ears and one mouth, you should listen twice as much as you speak. Good advice.


Jay is a frequent speaker on legal marketing and management subjects, and the author of several books, including How to Get and Keep Good Clients and How to Find the Right Lawyer.

  • Great post! It is such an important fundamental skill. I wrote about this in July and took the liberty of posting again today with a reference to your blawg. My question–with such a demonstrably important skill, why do law firms fail to provide even elementary training on how to listen better?