I think it is very important for lawyers who practice People Law, those primarily representing individuals, to appreciate that the differences between that and more business-oriented types of practices are increasing.
Today these areas are becoming completely different service delivery models. There was a time when a law firm handled its matters in the same way whether the client was an individual or a business. Today that is short-sighted. For future success, the firm should design processes to comfort and inform those who have never dealt with a legal process before as well as accomplishing the legal goals of the representation.
This month in the Oklahoma Bar Journal I wrote The Practice of People Law to outline some of the techniques a lawyer might consider. If your firm delivers services to both types of clients, I’d still encourage you to read this column and see what changes to the consumer side may improve the process and convert clients from one-time engagements to “You’re my lawyers if I need one again.”.
Professor Bill Henderson, professor of law at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, is a source for much of the available data on the differences between people law and corporate law, including some rather sobering economic trends. I linked to some of his posts in my article and hope you can make time to review some of his research. When I asked about reprint permission for some of the graphs I included in my article, his response was “Of course, I create those graphics for public use.” He is a great follow on Twitter @wihender. Bill, keep sharing your great posts and insight with us.
I wrote a blog post about this about ten months ago The Changing Dynamics of a “People Law” Practice. At that time, I was informing our members of an on-demand webinar I had done on this topic. The latest article ends with a discount code for that webinar. (“But wait there’s more!”)