Fri October 16 2020, 2:00 // Posted by Matthew Fong
Lawyers and client relationships – Clio Con 2020 Takeaways
Clio Cloud Conference 2020 was intriguing and insightful, to say the least, with engaging panels from various legal professionals and academics. As non-lawyers, we put effort into learning about the legal industry. What better way than hearing directly from experts in the field? The conference has addressed many topics crucial to the legal profession. One of the larger topics covered throughout the week was the importance of lawyers and client relationships.
The importance of understanding your clients.
As legal practitioners, knowing what your clients goals are is important. You want to ensure that you can provide a clear plan of action to propose in order to seal a deal and move forward. But what about understanding your clients on a personal level? How are their finances? How much do they understand the litigation process? Do you feel connected with the client and feel confident in being able to support their goals? In Akimbo founder Seth Godin’s keynote presentation, he covered the topic of practice specialization and knowing when to refer prospective clients to other legal professionals that would better align with their needs, goals, and values. Client experience is integral to the reputation of a practice. While taking on new clients is great, an unsatisfactory client experience can reduce the chance of recommendation, including losing a client. Godin encourages suggesting clients to lawyers better suited for them as a form of good service. Doing so would leave a good impression on that client who may recommend you to someone they know, contributing to positive lawyer and client relationships.
Clients are important, but so are you.
Lawyers support clients as they navigate the complex legal world. Lawyers know that being client-first leads to successful practices. However, Clio CEO Jack Newton believes that “client-first does not mean they’re the only priority.” The people operating within law firms are just as important. How can law professionals support their clients when their own needs are not being met? With the rise of COVID19, as legal practitioners, are you taking the time to reflect and check-in with yourself and your needs? Burnout in the legal profession is prevalent and is important to address and manage. Lawyers may want to deny the fact they may have burnout. However, while burnout is seen as bad, CharacterLab CEO & Founder Angela Duckworth, believes that burnout is due to the immense passion and dedication lawyers put into their practice. While passion and dedication is due to grit, Duckworth also believes that lawyers need to understand that self-care is an integral part of success. How can legal professionals succeed and flourish while tending to their clients when their own needs are not being met? We at Corvum encourage our clients (you!) to ensure your legal practice includes healthy boundaries and time allotted to yourself for work-life balance.
Self reflection leads to client success.
A successful practice requires thoughtful planning, including an understanding of what you’re willing to do or accept from clients, and how you want to sustain and manage work-life balance. Let’s not forget the importance of lawyers and client relationships. Every legal professional has different ways of approaching their work and these approaches may not always align with what clients want or agree with. Take the time to think and understand who your ideal client is. Does your specialization align with the needs of said client? If not, connect them with a more suited colleague and build a strong reputation. While you may not have helped that client directly with their case, you have instead directed them to the someone who can successfully get the job done, which is just as important.
Don’t forget to consider the sustainability of your approach to work. Does it provide you and your firm opportunities for breaks? Is your client pool at a maintainable level? Is the relationship between you and your clients personable but also healthy? In lawyer Katy Young’s panel, Putting the Client Experience First, she believes clients “want to know if [she] can get the job done or not. Did [she] listen to what they wanted,… [and] keep their budget in line?” By being transparent with her clients about her practice and expectations, she is capable of successfully operating her practice by her means with full confidence.