Whether you are trying to build a relationship after landing a new client, or to enhance existing client relationships, there are effective things a lawyer can do to accomplish both.

A Q&A article by Frank D’Amore that appeared in The Legal Intelligencer a couple of days ago, and on Law.com’s Small Firm Business, provides some good advice on the topic. D’Amore suggests five things that you can do to build client relationships:

  1. Get to know the client’s business and industry (the failure to do so is one of the biggest complaints that clients express about their outside counsel. One way to overcome that is to offer to spend time off the clock at the client’s place of business in a learning mode);
  2. Constantly communicate (ask clients about their preferred method and frequency of contact with outside counsel);
  3. Focus on making the client look good (recognize your contact’s personal, internal needs, and help them gain credit from your efforts);
  4. Maintain contact during “lulls in the client relationship” (even if not currently working on a particular client’s matter, keep in touch – by sending articles, newspaper clippings, e-mails, and telephone calls – and through client visits and entertainment); and
  5. Suggest networking opportunities and potential introductions to benefit your clients.

If you think of ways to add value to your client relationships, rather than just how to get more work from clients, you will find that it will provide long-term benefits to your business as well.