You might associate bedside manner only with doctors.
But if you don't incorporate some sort of bedside manner in your law firm practice, you won't be keeping your clients happy, and you won't be getting referrals from your clients in the future.
Here are five attorney bedside manner tips that every attorney should know.
- Listen. Listening to your clients is more than just an issue spotting exercise. It can be frustrating listening to clients vent and go off on tangents. But just hear them out. You might glean some helpful information. And after your client has blown off some steam, redirect them to the issues at hand. If you cut off or rush your clients, they may feel that you are not 100% behind them or don't really understand where they are coming from.
- Give Explanations. Decide not to write a letter or file a motion? Explain these decisions to your client, and tell them why you choose this particular course of action, instead of simply performing the act or telling them you performed the act. If you don't tell your client why you are doing (or not doing) something, you may turn them off or they may think you're incompetent.
- Involve Clients.. Building on number 2 above, keep your clients involved in the process. You are obviously the expert, but run ideas off your clients and ask them what they think.
- Return Calls. An unresponsive or unreachable attorney is probably the primary complaint by clients. Check your voicemails and emails frequently and send a response even if your response is simply that you can't respond.
- Don't Itemize. If you have to make an additional two-page photocopy, maybe make it on the house. The same goes for a two-minute phone conversation. Otherwise, you may seem stingy or greedy. But be careful as this opens the door to abuse.
Keeping clients happy should be a lawyer's primary goal after getting a client in the first place. Keep these lawyer bedside manner tips in mind and remember that happy clients will equal more clients.
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