Well, today is the day. It’s the kick-off of the Lateral Link Rainmaker program. I’m ready. I hope to see you at 11:00 AM CDT. (I think I may have written noon in an earlier blog post.) If you know me, you know that I love helping young lawyers succeed. So, I am excited about working with you and others over the next 12 months.

If I were to summarize what I am covering this month, I would say:

This month I am sharing with you how electronic media/the internet has taken the luck out of client development. Your goal in 2019 is to increase the number of “weak-tie” relationships who know what you know and are recommending you to potential clients.

Next month I will share with you how to prepare a business plan that works. Please contact me with any questions and/or specific topics you want me to cover in the Webinar.

Okay. Let’s get to the meat of my blog post today.

In 1991, David Maister wrote an article titled: How Clients Choose. He described what it feels like to be a client. As you will see, he advises that clients feel they are taking a personal risk hiring a lawyer or law firm. They feel insecure, skeptical, concerned, exposed and threatened.

David Maister’s article reminded me of advice, I received from my first mentor. It still applies in 2019. He told me:

When business clients find themselves in a jam, they want lawyers who inspire confidence. They want to believe you are the lawyer who can handle their problem.

Clients want lawyers who listen to them, analyze an issue carefully, reach an opinion and then have confidence they are advising the right approach.

I can’t resist referencing two songs that describe that kind of lawyer. The first is Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Taylor

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life

The second is Simply the Best, also originally recorded by Bonnie Taylor, but I love the live version by Tina Turner.

You’re simply the best, better than all the rest
Better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met

I don’t know that clients want their lawyers to be heroes or even simply the best, but they certainly want to feel their lawyers are confident and competent to handle the client’s matter.

What Clients Do Not Want

What do clients not want? One time I asked a large construction company executive told me:

I don’t want a lawyer to tell me at the beginning of a potential dispute that our case is solid, we can get to trial in 12 months and the cost will be $200,000, and then two years later on the courthouse steps, after we spent $500,000 tell me our case is no good and we must settle before trial.

Thankfully, he was not talking about me, but I still remember what he said.

Clients do not want lawyers who are:

  • Selfish and put their own interests first
  • Arrogant
  • Do not listen effectively
  • Short-sighted
  • Do not comprehend the Impact on their client
  • Lacking Curiosity
  • “Yes” Men or Women
  • Inefficient and costly