As an attorney, you are committed to helping clients. But do they know that? Building effective client relationships is essential for having a successful, client-focused firm.
Strong relationships are the foundation of a long, profitable, and fulfilling legal career. If your clients don’t feel as if they are receiving skilled legal representation, they may not refer you or could even write a negative review online. Below are several tips for building a strong and effective attorney-client relationship.
Open and Clear Communication
Strong communication will help new clients feel more confident that you have the legal skills and knowledge needed for their case. Clients want an attorney they can trust. If you keep your communication clear and direct and remain accessible, you will build trust with your client. This also lets clients know they can approach you with questions or concerns whenever they have them. Promptly answer all calls, texts, and emails. Clients need reassurance that their case matters to you and you are giving it the personalized attention it deserves.
Legal matters can be confusing and intimidating to your client. Communicating complex legal concepts in a way that’s easy to understand is essential. When you update clients on the status of their case, try not to get bogged down in legalese. Keep the language simple, so you don’t leave them with more questions. This can also help build trust. Clients want an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the legal process, but they want it explained in layman’s terms. If you speak like an attorney, they may be frustrated if they don’t understand.
When a client tells you their story, it’s important that you listen actively. Making a genuine effort to truly understand what they are seeking from you shows you care. Sometimes even experienced lawyers will make assumptions and jump to conclusions when a client is talking about their situation because they feel like they’ve heard the same story before. Try to avoid this. Jumping to conclusions or only half-listening as they tell their story can make you look dismissive.
No two cases are exactly the same. It’s critical that clients feel like their story is being heard and their case is being approached in a way that is customized to their unique needs. After the client has shared the details of their case, it’s important to ask good, open-ended questions. This will allow you to get more relevant information from them, and it also shows that you were listening actively.
Be a Strong Advocate
You should always be a strong advocate for your client while in court, mediation, negotiation, in your written legal documents, and when discussing the case with your client privately. Your aim should be to make every one of your clients feel as though they are your priority. Clients want to know that their lawyer is on their side and fighting for their rights. As a strong advocate for your clients, you should be empathetic to what they are going through. The more attention you give to their case, the better your performance will be.
Building a reputation as an attorney who cares for their clients is the key to having a successful firm. If a client knows they are valued, and their needs are looked after, they won’t hesitate to refer you to their friends and family.
Define the Relationship and Set Expectations
It’s important to keep in mind that many people have never worked with a lawyer before and have no idea what to expect regarding the attorney-client relationship. This is why it’s critical to define the relationship for them and set expectations. At the beginning of the relationship, provide them with specific information concerning how you and they will collaborate. Walk them through the process, including giving them a tour of the attorney-client agreement. Spell out for them what will and will not be included in their legal representation.
Explain how the finances, attorney fees, and billing will work. All this will be provided in writing, but many clients don’t read all the paperwork before signing. Also, these agreements are often written in a way that might make them unclear to someone who is new to having a lawyer.
The bottom line is that it is hard to build a successful law firm without caring for your clients. Strong customer service is essential. Always represent your clients to the best of your ability. Pay attention to the details and become a champion for their cause. Clients who trust their attorney and feel like their best interests are being looked after are likely to refer the firm to others.
To learn how Client Chat Live can help your firm develop strategies to build effective relationships with clients, call (808) 495-0231 or visit our contact page.