It has often struck me as odd that articles aimed at categories of lawyers (newbies, middle-age, old and the extremely long in the tooth) can just as well and should be directed at lawyers of all ages. Such is the case with a download I ran across on Attorney at Work.
It is entitled “25 Tips for the New Lawyer.” It is really good, and contains snippets that apply to all lawyers. I found it a good reminder of the things that lawyers should pay attention to no matter what stage of their career they find themselves. The following are a few I particularly like relating to marketing (as usual, my comments are added in parentheses):
- “Your client is always right. (Most of the time, that is.)” (My only disagreement here is that clients are always right all the time, at least from a marketing standpoint);
- “Return phone calls promptly. Really.” (Within no more than a couple of hours in this day and age. If you are unavailable, empower someone else to at least communicate your unavailability and when you will get back to them);
- “Before beginning the work, ask your client or supervisor what success will look like. Don’t just guess. You’ll probably be wrong.” (Certainly, this is more applicable to the new lawyer, but all lawyers should apply this tip when it involves two a new matter from a client);
- “While your client or colleague is in your law office, you are the hosts. Act like one.” (Make sure your receptionist knows this, and courtesies – including short wait times – are followed);
- “Under-promise and over-deliver. Never the other way around.” (Particularly when it comes to deadlines, I like to recommend to lawyers that they beat the deadline by a day or two. Most clients would be favorably overwhelmed.);
- “When you complete a matter or a task, ask for feedback. Be clear that you’re not looking for flattery-you want to know how to improve next time.” (Client satisfaction is so important in order to obtain additional work or referrals from a client, failure to demonstrate that you really care about the quality of your services may border on marketing malpractice.); and
- “Remember that clients don’t always one a lawyer. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to them.” (In a marketing context, make sure that is at least 50% of the time.).
In addition to this document being an easy and a short 5-10 minute read, it has links to additional articles and blog posts bearing on each tip. This is a valuable tool for lawyers of any age, even if it only to serve as a refresher.