Things I’ve always wanted to tell a client

I’ve just come back from a client’s planning session. This started last week but did not finish, hence the need to come back today. Before this meeting, I had to meet with one of its board members to finalize on an assignment given to us. This is where this blog begins to get its title…

During that pre-meeting, this board member casually mentions to me that during one of the rare times I was not present during a board meeting, the board almost hired a new “high-caliber” lawyer they were willing to shell out a handsome fortune to deal with pending legislation potentially prejudicial to their interest. It was only this one board member that stood by me. He eventually prevailed over all of them, fortunately but I got the job for peanuts (since they were already my client).

I had mixed feelings when I knew about it. First, I was angry that this client did not trust me enough, that they think I am not a “high-caliber” lawyer, that I could be easily be fired for no apparent reason whatsoever as I am just as good as my last work.

Then I just decided to let it go (but just blog it for record purposes). Hey, I still ended up getting the job and they kept on praising me when I delivered. Also, I am the ONLY legal authority in the field my client is in. No one, I mean, NO ONE can match wits with me insofar as this field is concerned. I have been in this field for almost five years and I have developed this as a sub-specialty, or a market niche of sorts.

This incident inspired me to blog things I really want to say to my clients. Here goes…

1. We are not supermen. We cannot guaranty results and you cannot judge or evaluate us on some objective output or goal.

2. We are like doctors as we deal with your life-or-death concerns. So don’t try to haggle with our fees, in the same manner as you don’t haggle with your doctor’s fees. Like your doctors, we are not free and we deserve everything we charge you.

3. You cannot keep us on a leash. We will try to give an opinion that will favor you as far as absolutely impossible. But if we say it’s impossible, believe us because we will not gain anything by feeding you BS. Just by being out client, we are always automatically on your side.

4. We only give advise. You still make the final decision.

5. As much as possible, please don’t call us after office hours, on weekends or holidays unless it is again a matter that cannot wait until then (like when you’re in prison or dying). There is nothing much we can do during these hours because courts and government offices also keep hours, weekends and holidays.

6. If you need us just to be your friend or you just need to someone to talk to, just say so. We will not turn you away (I don’t usually bill extra for that, but I cannot commit my brother lawyers to this).

7. Don’t expect an instant answer to your questions. We’d rather give you a correct answer later than give you a wrong answer now. SOMETIMES, we just don’t know the answer at that moment but we’re just too proud to admit it.

8. We are not offended if you seek a second opinion. We’re pretty sure the other guy will say the same thing but charge you more for it.

9. Do not assume that we are rich and that we don’t need our fees. We live in the same world with the same rising prices to everything. We also have needs and we have mouths to feed.

10. Lastly, TELL US EVERYTHING. The quality of our work depends on how much you tell us. This is simple GIGO-garbage in, garbage out. Tell us garbage, our advise is garbage. Don’t worry, telling your most intimate secrets will cost us out licenses and our livelihood so again, it is not in our interest to kiss and tell.

This also applies to loyalty. Be loyal to us and we will also be loyal to you.

’til the next blog…

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