How Successful Attorneys Choose Their Clients
How do you choose your clients?
Finding clients is not difficult. Once you know where to look, finding clients is easy. The challenge comes in finding clients who are the perfect fit for you.
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t go to a store and buy a pair of pants unless you were certain they fit. You wouldn’t buy a car unless you test drove it and made sure it was safe. You wouldn’t buy a house unless you inspected it.
Yet most attorneys have little or no standards to apply when accepting a new client.
If you have ever had a bad experience with a client or if you have ever agreed to reduce (or waive) your fee just to make a client go away, you need to give some thought to this idea.
You get to choose who you work with.
Everyone should have their own specific criteria for selecting clients. Here are some universally applicable standards to consider each time someone new asks for representation:
Will this client and this situation afford you the opportunity to do your best work? Your clients should benefit from your talent, skills, knowledge and experience. You should learn and grow through the application of the same. If this client doesn’t allow you to do your best, you are doing a disservice to both parties.
Can you legally, morally and ethically work with this client without reservation? This is between you and the person you see when you look in the mirror. If you can’t stand your client, he shouldn’t be your client.
Can this client afford a lawyer of your caliber? You are not a charity. Your law firm is a business. Don’t negotiate fees. Give 100% effort and provide your client with 100% of your talent, skills, knowledge and experience. They should pay 100% of your fee. If your client can’t afford it, they should not be your client.
Can this client adequately help you do your job? All too often clients want you to just make the problem go away. Unfortunately they don’t want to (or are incapable of) participating in their own matter. (Note: If they are incapacitated that’s different than if they are stubborn). You must decide at the outset of your relationship whether or not your client can help you get the best possible result. If they can’t, you should let them go somewhere else.
Is there opportunity for work beyond the initial engagement with this client? Does the person in front of you have other matters he could refer to your firm? Is he influential within the community and can he send other people to you? Each client offers two possibilities within this area: They can send you business that they personally control or they can influence others to work with you when the need arises. At some point during your intake process, you should probe about the prospective client’s ability to do one or the other.
Your time is incredibly valuable. You cannot waste it on people who are not your ideal client. These are the main criteria my clients use when they interview potential clients for their law practice. Add your own criteria to the list.
Of course, implied in this entire lesson is the idea that you get to choose your clients. If you don’t have that luxury, you have a marketing issue and you definitely need to call me. 888.692.5531
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