Developing new client service models is an important aspect of law firm planning and management. There is no doubt that clients have different expectations about service now than a generation ago. Some of this is related to technology. E-mail allows us to exchange messages hourly as opposed to the old "mail a letter and wait three days" mentality. Client extranets allow for an expanded type of client service. Generally speaking, clients know what is possible and they feel like they pay a premium for legal services and should receive a premium service. if their services are not convenient, timely and efficient, then they may seek alternatives. This would include non-lawyer and Internet legal service providers for the consumer and in-house counsel or offshore providers for the corporation.
So I suggest that all lawyers would benefit by reading one of my favorite blogs, Dan Hull’s Whataboutclients.com. He writes many thoughtful and provocative posts. He also looks for other online articles about client service and references them. He’s been posting rules about client service. The first six are here and include:
1. Represent only clients you like.
2. The client is the main event.
3. Make sure everyone in your firm knows the client is the main event.
4. Deliver legal work that changes the way clients think about lawyers.
5. Over-communicate: bombard, copy and confirm.
6. When you work, you are marketing.
Good material. Rule #1 may not always be possible for the criminal defense lawyer, for example. But thinking about these things and reading Dan’s extended commentary will help your law firm develop a plan for success. (Rules 7 and 8 have been posted, but you’ll have to go to Dan’s blog to find them.)