It should go without saying that client service is the bottom-line, critical piece of practice that cannot be overlooked. Unfortunately, that message does seem to be overlooked in some areas. At the risk of stating the obvious, clients are an attorney’s lifeblood. Without clients, practicing law is impossible. That makes your clients pretty important, doesn’t it? And yet, lawyers all too often unintentionally teach their clients that they aren’t important. Failing to keep a client up-to-date on the latest developments in his case (or letting her know that there aren’t any developments, and why), returning phone calls slowly if at all, rushing during conversations, and the like will quickly convince a client that you’re not interested in the client or his case.
I’d intended to write a post to discuss ideas about how lawyers can provide consistently excellent client service, but while going through my Bloglines subscriptions, I ran across Dan Hull’s What About Clients? 12 Rules of Client Service. These rules deftly require a seamless blend of “client service activity” with everyday work. (In other words, it’s about how to “be” excellent client service through the work you do and the way you do it.) While I don’t necessarily agree with all aspects of the rules (contrary to Rule #1, for instance, I do think a lawyer can provide excellent client service to a client she doesn’t like, probably even to a client she actively dislikes, though that’s certainly not fun and quite challenging), living by these rules will lead to truly great client service.