While lawyers and law firms do not have Black Friday sales on contracts or wills, there are techniques you can use to retain clientele. The practice of law is both a service and legal business. Looking at both of these aspects can help you find ways to retain clients.
The Legal Business
- Do great work and be a leader in your area of practice. Your legal work should demonstrate a good understanding of issues and satisfy your client, even if the result was not quite the one desired.
- Plan for an imperfect outcome—there are two sides to every legal issue, so a frank discussion of both sides and the merits of each case will prepare your client for an adverse outcome should one occur. And, when you win on all points, you’ll look like a star.
- Know your client’s business well enough to be aware of legal issues that may come up in the future. A simple note about a regulation change that may affect business will let clients know you are aware of their needs.
- Keep clients informed. For example, when you write a blog post about the latest case that could affect client estate plans, send them a copy of the post.
The Service Business
The service side of your business is just as important as the legal side. There are several lawyers who can do what you do, so giving clients that little extra bit of care will keep them coming back and referring others to you. Here are some things to consider.
- Communicate—the biggest complaint clients make about lawyers is their failure to communicate (American Bar Association study). Know how your clients like to be kept informed of case progress, either by phone or email.
- If you want clients to know you care for them, just check in from time to time. Even if nothing is going on, phone, stop in, or take them out to lunch.
- There is a good chance that clients will interact more with your staff than with you, so make sure your staff is professional. A helpful office staff is a great asset and increases your service value immensely.
- If your client needs help with a legal matter outside of your area of expertise, offer referrals to lawyers who can help. They will remember your assistance, call you for other legal needs, and bring referrals to you.
Take some time now to think about how to keep your clients coming back, and be sure to add these strategies to your business plan.
After years practicing law, Roberta Gubbins served as editor of the Ingham County Legal News. Since leaving the paper, she provides writing services to lawyers ghostwriting content for websites, blogs, and articles. She is editor of The Mentor, the SBM Master Lawyers Section newsletter.
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