- On January 16, 2017
I speak to many senior partners and in-house executives, who successfully manage their clients. They consistently:
- Research clients, both current and prospective. Even before their first meeting, lawyers have researched their clients’ goals, business, and hot buttons so they are ready to give tailored advice.
- Build relationships with clients. It takes time for lawyers to earn their clients’ trust, and there is no way to shortcut the number of positive interactions needed. Top lawyers have to show genuine interest in what is important to the clients and help them get there.
- Cultivate relationships with other lawyers. Front line lawyers are hit with all sorts of questions from their clients, sometimes outside their domain of expertise. To be able to respond, lawyers need to build relationships with their peers and always know whom to go to.
- Respond quickly. In-house lawyers tell me that by the time they are calling a firm, they generally need advice that day, and hate it when their outside lawyers do not prioritize their needs. I’ve noticed top lawyers, internal and external, always respond promptly, even if they are only acknowledging receipt of the question and reassuring they will give an answer by a certain time.
- Give clear guidance, which will make you stand out in a sea of confusing legal advice. Fenwick partner Cindy Hess told Law 360 about giving tough advice to an exec, but to her surprise was rehired by that person for his next company because he appreciated her directness.