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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of April 26, 2011

LawBiz(r) newsletter

We are about to launch our first national road show, a tour around the country to start in June. My objective is to talk with bar associations and law schools and other groups in the legal community as we travel, and to see the beauty of this country, up close. A press release will come out in the next few days. Stay tuned.

If you would like us to visit your community, drop me a note at, and provide the name and contact information of the person to reach so I can make the needed arrangements.
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Client Expectations Can Be Managed

Client Needs vs Wants
Successful lawyers must find out not only what clients need, but also what they want. Only when needs and wants are understood can you shape your assessment of the services to provide. If needs and wants are in harmony and you inform the client of what to expect, there is little likelihood of disagreement or a problem in the engagement. The lawyer who does this is proactively managing client expectations.

The obligation to promote quality communication between attorney and client and to assure that the client has a good understanding of what to expect lies squarely with the attorney, as part of his or her professional responsibility.

Essentials of Good Communication

  • Always have a signed engagement letter for a new client, stating as much information as possible about the parties, issues, anticipated strategies, desired outcomes and how much the client wants to pay.

  • Beware of clients who cannot or will not agree to what they want their lawyer to accomplish. Such clients will often be future sources of last minute complaints or emergencies that at best are irritating and at worst can result in errors under pressure.

  • Help clients understand that the fee they are charged meets the requirement of being "reasonable" under Rule 1.5, reflecting the lawyer's skill and experience.

  • Establish a budget for the engagement that provides common sense estimates of both the time and the expense that the engagement is likely to involve, making it clear that these are estimates and not guarantees. Be sure to communicate constantly about progress in comparison to budget.

  • Consider offering a "performance guarantee" of items within the lawyer's control, such as the level of service or an offer to adjust the fee if the client is not satisfied. This can reduce clients' feelings of risk, so that they feel comfortable moving ahead with an engagement.

  • Find out what clients think by visiting them periodically and getting them to talk about their business and to listen to what they are saying. Managing client expectations is possible only by giving clients the chance to clearly and regularly express them.

A Collaborative Relationship
Lawyers and clients should be mutually committed to a collaborative relationship that is founded on communication and understanding. Such collaboration doesn't just manage expectations - it builds the trust and loyalty that are essential to an enduring relationship.

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

The Lawyer's Path to Prosperity

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

Are you frustrated with how your law firm or practice is running? Are you looking for ways to jump-start your business? Do you want to make the dream of starting your own successful firm a reality?

This 8-CD set provides the most complete audio guide to law practice management available. From crafting a business plan to selling your practice for maximum value, Ed will lead you from start to finish through the eight most crucial steps to law firm success. Earn the living you deserve and find fulfillment throughout your career – embark on the path to success today! Learn more.

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In this issue:

Client Expectations Can Be Managed

8 Steps to Greater Profitability

Video: The Best Laid Plans: Why Every Law Firm Needs Them, Part 2

Featured Video:
Ed Poll on YouTube video


LawBiz Forum

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What Clients Are Saying:

"I felt 'stuck,' but I didn't know how to market myself to clients or to other firms. Ed provided a solid rounding of me to evaluate my current situation and a platform from which I could start growing my own practice."

CH, San Francisco, CA

"I look at Ed as my business partner now - my once a week essential business meeting to take the pulse of my practice. During our one-hour phone conversations, we hash out the larger and smaller business challenges of my law firm. I always come away from those conversations enlarged, challenged, and sometimes even quite shaken, but with the tools necessary to move forward down the path he and I are constantly redefining for me and my firm."

AL, Northern California

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2011 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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