Managing Client Relations In Your Law Practice

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I had the pleasure of speaking with Rodney Dowell, Director of LCL, today, for the Boston Bar Association\'s Brown Bag series on how to manage client relations. Enjoy!

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  • Managing Client Relations In Your Law Practice

    1. 1. The Boston Bar Association Presents: “Managing Client Relations” Your Presenters: Rodney S. Dowell, Esq. Director Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program Boston, MA Alan J. Klevan, Esq. KLEVAN & KLEVAN, LLP 1 Hollis Street, Suite 243 Wellesley, MA
    2. 2. What we will be covering (hopefully!) <ul><li>Appearance </li></ul><ul><li>Client considerations </li></ul><ul><li>Your relationship with your clients </li></ul><ul><li>Communications with your client </li></ul><ul><li>Setting client expectations and the ground rules early </li></ul><ul><li>Billing and collection </li></ul><ul><li>Why and how to terminate the relationship </li></ul><ul><li>File maintenance </li></ul>
    3. 3. Clean up your waiting room
    4. 4. What does your desk say about you?
    5. 5. You don’t need to take every potential client that walks in your door
    6. 6. FIRST STEP: ACCEPT ONLY YOUR IDEAL CLIENT? <ul><li>To Find Your ideal client: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will pay you a fair rate for your work. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will respect your time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respects Your Opinion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maybe, even loyal. </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. RED FLAGS MEAN STOP <ul><ul><li>You are 3 rd , 4 th attorney on case. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Has created an immediate deadline. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not have funds for initial retainer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Calls constantly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions every item of your bill. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Does not respect your opinion. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Follow your gut. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. First Impressions When a prospective client comes to your office, treat them like GOLD! Pour on some good old fashioned southern hospitality Make them feel welcome and important. Make sure they leave feeling they have made the right choice.
    9. 9. Make it all about your client The case is about THEIR issue – guard yourself against desensitization! Remember, you see it all the time – this case is THEIR tragedy! THEY need to know you care…
    10. 10. Create “Raving Fans” “ Clients are only satisfied because their expectations are so low and because no one else is doing it better. Just having satisfied clients isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.”
    11. 11. Block Time For Client Communication
    12. 12. The Key to 99% Client Satisfaction A Relationship Built On: Know Like Trust
    13. 13. Getting a Client to Pay…
    14. 14. <ul><li>Set the rules </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not be shy about discussing fees </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not reduce your price </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not devalue your service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make certain the client understands your policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-determine the appropriate retainer </li></ul></ul>
    15. 15. Getting Clients to Pay <ul><li>Bill regularly – consider semimonthly </li></ul><ul><li>Bill after a good result </li></ul><ul><li>Bill after a productive conversation </li></ul><ul><li>Never delay in getting a bill to a client </li></ul><ul><li>Never delay in getting a bill to a client </li></ul><ul><li>Never delay in getting a bill to a client </li></ul>
    16. 16. Billing early, often and strategic = Billing late and infrequently =
    17. 17. BE PROACTIVE <ul><li>DON’T </li></ul><ul><li>Fail to return phone calls </li></ul><ul><li>Sound disinterested when speaking with a client </li></ul><ul><li>Fall behind in casework </li></ul><ul><li>Neglect your staff. Keep them informed of your activities </li></ul><ul><li>Overpromise </li></ul><ul><li>DO </li></ul><ul><li>Call clients in a timely manner </li></ul><ul><li>Keep your case lists, budget and business plan up to date </li></ul><ul><li>Praise your staff for a job well done </li></ul><ul><li>Treat each client as if they are your biggest referral source </li></ul><ul><li>Overperform </li></ul>
    18. 18. Time to Re-Learn the “A, B, C’s”
    19. 19. Get Happy – Fire Some Clients Don’t spend hours on no or low-profit clients if that time can be spent on higher-profit matters Remember your 80/20 Rule!
    20. 20. SAY GOODBYE WITH AFFECTION <ul><li>DISENGAGEMENT LETTER </li></ul><ul><ul><li>BUT, A MARKETING LETTER </li></ul></ul>
    21. 21. CLIENT FILE MAINTENACE <ul><li>FEE AGREEMENT – DOCUMENT RETENTION </li></ul><ul><li>HAVE A DOCUMENT RETENTION POLICY </li></ul><ul><li>USE SCANNERS AND NAMING CONVENTIONS </li></ul><ul><li>USE PDF E-RETENTION OF FILES </li></ul><ul><li>METHODS OF STORAGE </li></ul>
    22. 22. GOOD LUCK TO YOU! Alan J. Klevan KLEVAN & KLEVAN, LLP 1 Hollis Street, Suite 243 Wellesley, MA 02482 781-237-4700 [email_address] www.twitter.com/AlanKlevan www.lawpracticestrategies.com Concentrating in workers’ compensation claims, motor vehicle claims, divorce and estate planning.
    23. 23. Contact the LOMAP Team : Rodney S. Dowell, Esq. Director Jared D. Correia, Esq. Law Practice Advisor Rachel M. Willcox Administrative Assistant Email : [email_address] Phone: (857) 383-3252 Follow LOMAP : Web: www.masslomap.org Blog: http:// masslomap.blogspot.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/MassLOMAP Twitter: www.twitter.com/rodneydowell www.twitter.com/jaredcorreia www.twitter.com/MassLOMAP <ul><li>FREE </li></ul><ul><li>CONFIDENTIAL </li></ul><ul><li>PRACTICAL </li></ul>Funded by Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, Inc.

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