Posts tagged - facebook

Treat your clients’ money as if it were your own

So my firm has a unique culture, as do all businesses. But the difference at my firm is that we have captured the essence of our firm in 21 fundamentals we call The JW Way ( These are the foundation of our business and inform how we operate from how we deal with clients to who we hire, whether attorneys or staff.

Today I am focusing on one fundamental: Treat clients’ money as if it were your own. Yes, I know this makes sense, but doing it is not always the obvious choice. The easiest example of this in my world involves litigation. A partner of mine is known to say: We can ride to court in a Honda or a Cadillac. In some situations a client may only be able to afford the Honda. Of course this means having difficult conversation at the front end to determine what your client or customer can afford and how that relates to what they want to do.

If that is the case, you then have to figure out whether it is possible to provide outstanding legal advice and service that will meet your client’s expectations going to court in the Honda. If not, or if a potential client is looking for a luxury ride they cannot afford, the best thing I can do is decline the representation because odds are I cannot realistically meet their expectations.

For me, when a client is on a litigation budget, that means thinking about overall costs for a representation and what can be done to try and work within a given client’s budget or financial limitations. For example, it could mean taking a close look at larger litigation expenses such as depositions and only taking some, but not all possible, depositions. Or, on smaller expenses it may mean sending a demand by snail mail and email, but not having it hand delivered or served.

I am sure there are ways in your business to shave both smaller and larger amounts from what you are doing for your clients or customers on a specific deal or project. Or maybe it is looking at administrative expense and overhead in your business. Maybe there is a bigger picture change you can make that will result in savings you can pass on.

The fact is that by treating our clients’ money as if it were our own, as well as following the other fundamentals of The JW Way for a number of years, it has lead my firm to great overall business decisions and great hiring decisions regarding people who fit into our culture, as well great and continuing success. This in turn has resulted in my firm being able to meet and exceed the goals of our clients and avoid sending invoices that provide sticker shock; Your client doesn’t want the invoice for the Cadillac if you discussed the Honda.

No Comments

Good Communication Must be Lucid, Cogent, Succinct, Interesting, Informative, and Convincing

Those are a lot of five star words I read in an interview answer United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy gave when asked what qualities he admires in the briefs presented to his court. I think what he said has broader application in our daily lives, both professional and personal. Whether you are writing, on the phone, meeting with someone or a group, giving presentation, etc. you need to think about your audience and the result you are seeking.

It takes work to be clear, logical, and short (my three star understandable translation of Justice Kennedy’s words), let alone interesting, informative and convincing. This does not mean practice and plan every communication because thinking on your feet is another important skill to have and some communications need to and are meant to be spontaneous. It means know your audience and the context of your communication.

For example, if you are negotiating anything (we all negotiate in all aspects of our lives daily! You do….think about it), and here I am specifically thinking in our business or professional roles, do you have a strategy going in? If you don’t, you likely will not get to the result you seek or accept a result that would have been unacceptable to you going in. How you prepare is up to you and should be based on the context and type of communication. Negotiating a lower price for a curio on vacation is different than negotiating a business contract is different than negotiating settlement of a lawsuit.

In my world this mostly means dealing with clients, other attorneys and courts. What it means to you is relative to where you sit. And, again, the context of the communication. And it includes tweets and Facebook posts for business related accounts, and most certainly texts and email.

It goes back to something many of us have heard our entire lives: think before you speak (or in this case, before you write/type/tweet…or maybe blog).

If you have any thoughts or want to add to this conversation, please feel free to email me, text me, tweet me, message me on LinkedIn, comment here, call me or stop me in the hall!

No Comments