I would not agree that you need to “love” your clients to be successful, but I do say that if a lawyer and the client are good friends, the better the chances for a long-term business relationship. Number 46 of Tom Peters’ “100 Ways to Succeed” suggests being “Melded to your Client” as in being one with your client, as like being in “love.” I expect Tom is overstating for affect.
In a speech to the General Practice/Solo section of the ABA last August on marketing, I stressed the importance of making friends to improve your client development efforts.
Key elements that identify successful marketing efforts include communications, constant contact through such communication, which in turn builds relationships, and the friendships that can develop as a result. Give a client a competent lawyer-friend (which by definition involves a meaningful relationship that is developed through constant contact and communication) and you can forget about ever taking work away from that lawyer.
It is a given that quality legal services is in the mix. To put it another way, communications of every kind leads to more and more contacts; contact leads to relationships; and, relationships, if properly handled, build into friendships which result in long term clients. It’s an emotional thing. But, nothing is more effective, and it is religiously practiced by successful rainmakers.
When I was in corporate marketing I was asked to define marketing in one word, I responded “befriending.” So, focus on making friends, rather than on just gaining clients.