A law firm’s entire function revolves around helping its clients. With that in mind, it makes sense that client-centered law firms would be more successful than practices that are only driven by profits and profits alone. This should come as no surprise. Forward-thinking lawyers in the industry have had this figured out for years. But not all lawyers come to the job with this insight or experience.
Before I joined up with the legal sector, I was working in the hospitality industry for a while. My clients were at the core of everything I did, so I was a bit surprised when I saw how little law practices valued the client experience. Not only because these clients should be at the center of their organizations, but because it helps firms maintain a competitive edge in the industry.
Law firms really have no choice in the matter anymore. If you want to survive and grow, you need to shift your focus from your profits to your clients. Today, there are more alternatives to legal services than ever before and in addition to the fact that people now have a higher demand for instant service and satisfaction (thanks to technology such as Amazon, Netflix, and DoorDash), firms that can deliver on this really do set themselves apart.
This goes beyond just delivering good service from a legal perspective — that’s your job. Being client-first means truly putting them at the center of everything you do. Below are a few pointers for how to successfully run a client-centered law firm.
Put yourself in their shoes
If something happened to you that required you hire a lawyer, what type of service would you expect? It’s more than just winning your case. You not only want to trust the person you’re working with and have a positive relationship with them along the way, but you would also want to feel valued. Put yourself in their shoes. Before you make a decision about your operations or think about implementing a new technology or process, think about how it will impact their experience. Similarly, take a look through your existing procedures. Is there anything you can update or improve to make the client experience even better? Chances are, you should always be able to enhance something from this internal conversation.
Give clients what they really want
Your clients come to you when they need a legal issue resolved. But there’s more to it than that. They also come to you for your reassurance, emotional support, a piece of mind, guidance, etc. Lean into these other aspects. Your clients will notice and, when they do, you will continue to prove yourself as the practice that goes above and beyond for your clients.
This is the area where most lawyers fall flat. Once you’ve upheld the legal end of your bargain with your clients, most lawyers end their communication there. If you want to get more insight into how your client’s feel after working with your firm, reach out to them and ask. Offer up a time to chat over a cup of coffee or a quick lunch. Ask them how they felt during their case, how they felt working with you, and if there was anything they would have changed about the process. Encourage them to be as honest and candid as possible so you know what you can do to improve your services.
You got into the industry to help people. But winning a case is just one part of what helping a client looks like. Don’t forget about the entire client journey. From the time your client contacts you to after the conclusion of their case, make everything you do about them.