Although lawyers don’t often consider themselves consultants to their clients, I contend that is exactly what they are. Sure, they can be more than that (as in advocate, mouthpiece in the courtroom or during negotiations and the like), but consultants they are. So, when I saw the list of items that Mike McLaughlin at Guerrilla Consulting identified that clients want from their consultants, I realized that clients of law firms look for the exact same things.
They want to know:
*Can you deliver results? (We all know that lawyers cannot promise results. That is not only foolish, but in violation of the ethics rules. However, clients want to know that you’ve been there and done that before – and yes, that you have been successful, so that the likely result will be success.),
*Who will do the work? (What partner and/or associates will be part of the team working on their matter.),
*What are the risks of project? (Not only do they want to feel comfortable with your experience, but what are the risks associated with the current matter and how will you approach those uncertainties; and they want to know that upfront.),
*How will you interact with client? (They want to know how you will work with their in-house people, whether on the legal staff or with other employees. As Mike suggests, it is good to “clarify the roles, expectations and time commitments�(and) working style.”), and
*Can you keep fees under control? (No one likes surprises, and clients are no different. They don’t want fees and costs to run amok. They want the matter to be done within budget, or at least within an agreed upon range).
As Mike suggests to consultants, I likewise suggest to lawyers, that you deal with these issues upfront in your discussions with prospective clients. He and I concur that it will improve your legal marketing efforts over the competition.