As mentioned last time, one in-house counsel on the InHouseBlog posted his ten commandments applicable to outside firms when providing legal services to his company. And I suggested that his rules could come just as well from individual clients or entities without an attorney on staff. In the interest of brevity, I only covered five in my last post.
Here are the other five plus:
- No surprises… about anything. This is one of, if not the most critical, edict. No one likes (unpleasant) surprises. You don’t, I don’t, and I can assure you clients don’t. I have commented on this topic before;
- Remain calm and focused. Even if the client does not. You must remain professional, whether the client contacts are “freaking out.” Critical that you keep a “cool, clinical level-head” so the situation stays under control;
- Focus long term.Keep in mind that if you do a good job at a reasonable cost to the client, and otherwise add value to the relationship, it is in your long term interests in obtaining more work. So, avoid charging for every little phone call, offer free advice, CLE, etc.;
- Observe all my rules.Do not contact client executives except through counsel, and bill as requested, as well as respect all other guidelines spelled out; and
- Be ethical (DUH).This goes without saying, but he also points out that outside counsel should avoid upstaging the other side, or take unreasonable negotiating positions to score points. Rather, use good, sound and practical approaches.
His eleventh “commandment” is an admonition to “be pleasant and be yourself.” Remember, clients hire lawyers they know, like and trust… and follow in-house counsel’s commandments. Otherwise, your marketing efforts may be for naught.