A lawyer  I coached several years ago sent me this email with rules she had set for herself to better serve her clients.

I hope that every year I can practice law better than I did the year before. With that in mind, I thought I would set 5 rules that I hope I follow on every case, every day of my practice this year.

  1. Return every call and e-mail the same business day unless it comes after 4:00 pm and then return it before 10:00 am the next business day. This applies whether it is from a court clerk, another lawyer in the firm, opposing counsel, or our most important client.
  2. Know each client’s billing guidelines and record and release all time in compliance with client and firm guidelines.
  3. Beat every deadline I have. For XXX who requires a 21 day report, I will send it on the 20th day. For YYY who requires a report every 60 days, I will send it on the 59th day. For those of you who work for primarily internal clients, beating every deadline you have by a day could really change your practice. And, in the event of the unforeseen (sickness, client emergency), you can still be a day late and still be on time.
  4. Ask myself before any work product leaves my desk – is this the absolute best work product I can produce in a reasonable amount of time. If not, make it better.
  5. Make every person I work for feel like their business, their call, their letter, their e-mail and their case are the most important thing I have to do and it is my pleasure to work for them.

I wonder how many lawyers have set rules like this for themselves. More importantly, how many lawyers are actually living by rules like this to better serve their clients?