Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 9

CAREER AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
the possible outcomes go a long way toward
ensuring a satisfied client. Better still, check
in once or twice a year to see if expectations
have changed and to restate the likely outcomes.
Because anything can happen in a courtroom
or in a court case, helping your client set realistic
expectations will result in a more satisfied client
at the end of the engagement.
3. Promptly acknowledge phone calls and
emails. Many lawyers respond a day or two after
receiving a phone call or email from their client.
Lawyers who respond faster are perceived as
providing better customer service.
Instead of waiting, consider responding quickly
when you're checking your voicemail or email to
let your client know that you've received their
message. If you don't have time to answer their
question immediately, tell them when you will
call or email with a response, then put the task of
responding to the request on your to-do list or
schedule it on your calendar. This way, your client
knows that you received their message, and
you've set their expectations about when they
will receive a response. From the client's perspective, defining the waiting time shows them that
they are so important that you have scheduled a
time to research and respond to their question.
4. Regularly communicate with clients about
the status of their case. Are you giving status
updates to your clients on a regular basis? A brief

call or email is a simple yet highly effective
way to keep clients informed and shows them
that you care and are thinking about their case.
For example, you might send a quick email to
a client that says, "Ms. Nouri, this week we scheduled all depositions of the following witnesses,"
or "Mr. Johnson, we sent the demand letter to
the defendant's attorney asking for the amount
we discussed."
Sending regular brief status reports is less
time consuming than you might think. Some
of my coaching clients block one hour every
week to send updates to their clients. In
addition to strengthening your relationship
with the client, you are building their trust in
you and your firm, and showing them that you
are on top of their case.
5. Provide more detail on client invoices. When
I review a coaching client's billing process, it's
common for me to see "Legal Services" on client
invoices as the description of the work performed. Instead of general descriptions, consider
listing concrete actions you've taken, which you
can enter right into your billing software. For
example, "drafted pleadings to file with the court
showing exactly how the defendant breached
the agreement with the plaintiff" is significantly
different from "drafted pleadings."
This way, you use the invoice to show the client
that you are advocating for them, that you are

Feels good

working hard, that you support your client, and
that the work is necessary to win the case. When
we bill without much detail, especially at high
rates, clients tend to question how hard we are
working and whether our work is really worth
the money they're paying.
Great customer service results in happier clients,
increases the likelihood your bills will be paid,
and makes it more likely that your client will refer
another client to you or return with another matter.
While I often have heard that a client would rather
have a lawyer who wins than one who provides
great customer service, I ask the attorneys I coach:
Why can't you be both?
It's not unusual for attorneys to provide customer
service that's less than stellar. Like many parts of
running a law firm, we don't learn customer service
or how to run a law firm in our undergraduate
studies or in law school. All of us have tasks in our
practice that we do well and those that we don't
do as well. But great lawyers and law firms are receptive to making positive changes, particularly changes
that result in more referrals and more business.
Do you and your law firm provide great customer
service?

Geoffrey B. Gilbert is a member of the D.C. Bar and
a long-time executive coach for attorneys. Reach
him at geoff@coachforexecutives.com.

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Washington Lawyer - November 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November 2018

Washington Lawyer - November 2018
Contents
Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Career & Professional Development
Calendar
Government & Gavel
Smart Cities: The Future of Living
I, Lawyer? Ai & the Law
Cybersecurity: Preparing for the Inevitable
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Washington Lawyer - November 2018
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Contents
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Career & Professional Development
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 9
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Calendar
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 14
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Smart Cities: The Future of Living
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 18
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - I, Lawyer? Ai & the Law
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 26
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cybersecurity: Preparing for the Inevitable
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 45
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November 2018 - Cover4
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