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Extending Legal Client “Rules” to Everyone

The [non]Billable Hour has a great post containing 15 rules for clients. It begins rather harshly, but then does a good job of setting some realistic expectations.

Honestly, I think anyone looking for any type of service provider should keep these “rules” in mind. In fact, think of them more like a myth-buster. De-cloud your thinking, and you will be a more satisfied client.

Take rule #1, for instance: “You have wants. You have needs. Focus on the needs first. Wants are bonus.” If you have this mentality with your doctor, your mechanic, and your barber, you will be more pleased with your outcome. You will be able to tell the mechanic the most important things wrong with your car; he will get your car running. If he can fix that little squeak behind the dash, you’ll be even happier. But if he fixes the squeak and you still can’t start your car, what does it matter?

While clerking at two big law firms last summer, I saw a lot of rule #10:

How messy is your lawyer’s desk? When they bill you for thirty minutes of “file review,� how much of that time was spent looking for your file?

Almost every lawyer’s desk was covered with papers, files, notes, etc. I can’t imagine how they ever got any work done. They did, but they also billed every SECOND of their time to someone. So shuffling papers around a messy office is your problem, not the lawyer’s. [By the way, I keep a tidy desk. :)]

Finally, everyone should pay special attention to rule 11:

When you call a lawyer for the first time, how long does it take for him to return your calls? After you hire that lawyer, expect it to take at least three times as long. Same goes for e-mails.

I remember ordering a computer from Dell several months ago. When you select the “new customer” option, someone immediately picks up the phone. No wait. Instant service. However, if you select any other option, you’ll find yourself in a call queue. I had a small problem with the order, and the only way I could get through to anyone was to select “new customer” and have that person deal with the situation. Once again, these “rules” apply to all types of companies.

[tags]legal andrew, matt homann, client, lawyer[/tags]

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