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August 2006

Just Think Of the Fucking Client

Just Think Of the Fucking Client

Yes, I used the F word. One of the many advantages of being anonymous is that I can drop the F-bomb where appropriate. This is the first time I thought it appropriate. Let me tell you why.

We need to re-interject the words "client interest" back into every conversation we have in the office. Client interest does not mean pandering to the client. Nor does it mean feeding the client sugarcoated candy, platitudes, or ego stroking.

Here is my list of things, which I would include in my definition of client interest:

1. knowing that you are the best person to represent this person on this issue or that you could put together a team of people to answer all key issues.

2. taking clients who you believe you can stand behind if necessary. This is a difficult one since clients sometimes take unreasonable positions. If a client continues to take positions which you find unreasonable, you should be separating yourself from that client. It is not in the client’s interest that you represent them.

3. making sure your client can afford for you to handle the matter all the way through a defined outcome. The fact that a client may be able to afford the first $5,000 in attorney’s fees does not help them much when it is going to cost $50,000 to accomplish the goal. Lawyers too often forget, that a job half done is often worth nothing to the client.

4. defining goals and expectations with your client. Misinformed clients cannot help you and certainly cannot help themselves. Having frank conversations with your client is one of the toughest parts of the job but one of the most important. Making sure that you, as an attorney, has "getting rich" any higher than 10th on your priority list.  You cannot abide by your client's interest if you are thinking about whether that particular client will have touble paying next month (you should have resolved budget issues on the front end so it is your own fault if you find the client coming up short).

There are a lot of other bullets that need to go here.  Will you help and post a comment adding to the list? I will even let you use the word fuck.  (I wonder if the search term "greatest fuck" will work its way up the search results for the GAL Blog).