Five Things Every Law Firm Should Guarantee

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Law Firm GuaranteeMost businesses are afraid of guarantees.  The believe that people will take advantage of them way too often and drive firm into the ground.

Law firms are no different.

In most states law firms cannot even allude to the potential positive outcome of a matter without facing severe penalties.  So you can forget about guaranteeing anything…right? 

Wrong!

The state bar rules, in most cases, do not forbid SERVICE LEVEL GUARANTEES.  They forbid outcome guarantees.  Your law firm can guarantee that you will treat your clients with respect and common courtesy.

Many of my clients (I only work with lawyers) have strong guarantees and they ask their clients to hold them accountable.

Here are the five things that every law firm should guarantee:

A Return Phone Call

I hate the fact that most attorneys do not return phone calls in a timely fashion.  I do not care how busy you are, I do not care if you spend your entire day in court, I don’t care if you commute 3 hours one way to work; all client phone calls should be returned within two hours.  Period.

You don’t have to personally call your client back (it would be great if you would).  But your assistant should call people back within two hours and schedule a return call to your clients at the next possible opportunity.

By they way there is no excuse for ever letting a client go beyond 24 hours without a phone call.  If you don’t get out of work until 10PM, call then.  The client will be glad you did.  They will not be upset when you interrupt their TV shows.

Proper Preparation

I have seen many attorneys walk into the lobby of the courthouse and get introduced to their client for the first time.

Sorry but that is crap.

Proper preparation means having at least one conversation with your client before they put their legal future in your hands. 

It also means that you have read the file before walking into the meeting with opposing council for the first time (yep I’ve seen and heard about that a few times too). It also means proof reading the settlement letter before sending it – you know – to make sure that the client’s name is spelled correctly…

An Answer to Every Question

You must give your client an answer to every question he/she asks.  Helping your client understand what is happening to him/her is an essential part of your job.

If you don’t know the answer to the question at that moment, simply say: “I have to do some research before I answer you.”  And then get back to them as soon as possible.

That’s not only a nice thing to do, it’s your job.  You work for the client.

Attorney Timeliness

No one client is more important than any other. 

If they are you should choose not to represent the lesser of the two clients because they deserve someone who will give them their full attention.

Be on time. 

Just like the phone call situation – there are few acceptable excuses for being late to a meeting.

The Right to Speak with the Boss

All clients should have the right to speak with the ultimate decision-making authority in the firm.

If you are a solo or small firm attorney then you might want to consider a “speak your mind guarantee”.  This is a guarantee that states that if the client is ever not happy with something, they have the right to speak their mind and not worry about any repercussions.  Of course this is not the same as introducing an objective third party into the situation, but it demonstrates your concern for the feelings of the client.

So just what happens if you let the client down? 

What happens if you fail in one of these areas? 

In most cases, the attorney agrees to forgive some portion of the fee. 

That’s right; they put their money where their mouth is.

These five items are foundational elements of client service.  If you are not guaranteeing them, there is only one reason:  You are scared that you cannot control yourself enough to treat people properly.

Why don’t you implement this five point guarantee today?

Need help?  Call me.  Dave Lorenzo 888.692.5531