Think Like a Client

In 2019 the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System and AVVO partnered up to better understand what clients value in their lawyers. The result?
A 32-page report reflecting client preferences, needs, and expectations. Here are some of the key findings:

Communications

It’s no surprise that what matters most to clients is promptness. When you can’t respond promptly, ask staff to reach out. Use outgoing messages or auto-replies that provide information about your availability then follow-up as promised.

Keep clients informed. Don’t make the client ask you for a status update. This is another area where staff can help. Let them make calls or draft emails and memos. If the client has a legal question, you can follow-up. Always copy the client on documents and case activity as the matter proceeds.

Fully answer client questions, give an honest evaluation of the case, discuss options, and review case strategies. Clients want to be in the know.

Demeanor

Professionalism, tolerance, sensitivity, compassion, sociability, courtesy, and respect are all part of demeanor in the client’s eyes. Clients want their lawyer to take a personal interest in their case and demonstrate qualities associated with integrity and trustworthiness.

Fees

Clients who reported positive experiences felt the lawyer’s fee was fair, reasonable, affordable, or competitive. Flexibility, including willingness to set up an alternative fee arrangement, was appreciated. Many clients emphasized the need for billing transparency and avoiding surprises.

More to Learn

As you might imagine, there is more to learn on the subject of thinking like a client. View the full report here.

All Rights Reserved 2020 Beverly Michaelis

Resolve to Improve Your Practice in the New Year

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

 

You don’t really have to choose, because in 2020 you’ll see posts on all these topics and more!

STREAMLINE YOUR PRACTICE IN THE NEW YEAR

We begin the year with a Fresh Start.  If you’ve ever felt disorganized or overwhelmed, this post is for you.  No habit or office system is written in stone.  You can make adjustments, update your practices, or create new procedures. For a kickstart, visit this blog next Monday.

BETTER CLIENT MANAGEMENT

Recommitting to marketing and client retention begins with understanding how to control and relate to clients.  Download my free eBook, Tips for Improving Client Relationships.

SHOW ME THE MONEY

Collecting fees is a battle every lawyer fights. We’ll start the new year with a deeper understanding of fee agreements, billing, and collections.

BETTER TECH FOR EVERYONE

Every year brings new tech tips, gadgets, and websites worth your time and investment. If you just can’t wait, check out 2019’s Technology Tips for Busy Legal Professionalsfeaturing workflow automation, the importance of practice management integration, better email management and document drafting with apps, ink-to-digital notebooks, specialty legal keypads, smart conference room cameras, how to create a free online business profile, ethically-compliant business texting, online contract lawyering resources, AI-powered legal research, and more.

Happy New Year!

Tumalo River

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis 2020

10 Products, Platforms, and Services for Lawyers

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I am always on the lookout for new ideas, tools, or products that are helpful to lawyers. If you have 2 minutes to spare, watch the video at the end of this post compiled by Streaming.Lawyer blogger Mitch Jackson. It highlights how Mitch uses the following every day in his law practice:

bombbomb – an online service that records, sends, and tracks simple email videos to stand out in your client’s crowded inbox.

Zoom video conferencing – Modern video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. (I use Zoom for online CLEs and recommend it highly.)

eCamm – live video streaming for Mac platforms. Compatible with Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and Twitch.

AgoraPulse – social media management. Should you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube? Yes, but who has the time. This product allows you to schedule content, get reports, and engage followers with one simple tool.

GoogleKeep – Keep is simple way to capture notes, lists, and reminders on the go. Record voice memos and Keep will automatically transcribe them! Check off completed tasks; add a collaborator to notes and lists; add photos and drawings, or draw on photos; search notes by automagically created topics; group notes together with #labels; color notes; access your notes on any device; syncs automatically to your phone, tablet, watch, and laptop via the Google Keep website, or Chrome app.
Use “Ok Google” voice commands to “take a note” or “add to to-do list.”

Canva – use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and layouts to design, share, and print business cards, logos, presentations and more. Accounts are free.

Calendly – online scheduling is the most efficient way to set depositions, mediations, and meetings. Free and integrates with Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendar so you’re never double booked.

Smartline – a second phone number app from GoDaddy. Unlimited texts and minutes for $9.99 per month (free 30-day trial available). Install the app on your current smartphone. Save your private number for friends and family and use Smartline for business calls.

Ruby Receptionists – a virtual reception service for your law firm based right here in Oregon. A favorite of mine and available at a discount for members of the Multnomah Bar Association.

Nimble – relationship-building software. Log on to your Nimble dashboard to manage client relationships and contacts.

Here’s Mitch’s video:

via 10 “Non-Legal” Products, Platforms, and Services I Use in My Law Practice and Highly Recommend! — Streaming.Lawyer

Why Young Lawyers Should Go Solo

I’m a young lawyer. I started law school in 2010, which was a scary time to be entering the profession. Jobs had disappeared and a scarcity mindset had taken root. I was relieved when I managed to find work, first as an appellate clerk, and then at several mid-size Seattle firms. But relief and satisfaction are two very different things and, after three years in private practice, I still wasn’t satisfied with my firm job.

So, just last August, I quit and started a solo practice[…]

via 4 Reasons Young Lawyers Should Consider Going Solo — NWSidebar

Post author Mark Tyson found that going solo was the right choice for him.  Why?

You can (and will) master the business of law

You’ll have to learn, by necessity, how to write a business plan, develop a marketing strategy, create key performance indicators, track conversion rates, and so much more. You’ll make lots of mistakes and learn from them along the way.

Being a solo allows you to lead with your values

I value organizations devoted to social and cultural enrichment. To support these organizations, I incorporated a sliding-scale fee model into my pricing structure, which allows me to offer reduced rates to those who need services but can’t necessarily pay market rates.

You are free to be creative

Writing interesting and useful content has been the creative outlet I hoped to find as a lawyer… I enjoy writing, so it rarely feels like a chore to blog, especially when a new prospect calls after reading my latest, or when one of my posts hits the first page on Google.

I only help clients I truly care about

When I opened my firm, I got some advice that’s shaped my approach to marketing: “Tell at least one person a day who your ideal client is.” The directive is to be bold, yes, but also targeted in your marketing. You’re not just looking for anyone who’s willing to pay your fee—you want someone who’s a good fit for you.

Mark’s main takeaway: Starting your own firm means battling insecurity every day, but the satisfaction is well worth it.