Client Relations: Must-Read Resources at the San Francisco Law Library

Andrea Woods

The San Francisco Law Library maintains a comprehensive Law Practice Management Collection, with publications that detail all aspects of opening a practice—hanging your shingle, billing, marketing, finances, risk management, technology, and more.

This post introduces the Law Library’s LPM resources that help lawyers forge strong relationships with their clients. Stay tuned for future installments that highlight the Law Library’s materials on additional LPM topics.

Build Your Practice the Logical Way: Maximize Your Client Relationships, by Carol Schiro Greenwald and Steven Skyles-Mulligan.  American Bar Association, Section of Law Practice Management, 2012.

book1Marketing studies reveal that it takes almost eight times more money to acquire a new client as it does to obtain new business from an existing relationship. But many attorneys overlook this easy opportunity and fail to nurture and develop client relationships to mine for future business. To make the most of these relationships, you need to transition away from being a mere vendor of legal services, and toward being a trusted advisor. This how-to guide will show you how to master communication, create loyalty, understand what your clients value, and even replicate your best client relationships.

Client Science: Advice for Lawyers on Counseling Clients through Bad News and Other Legal Realities, by Marjorie Corman Aaron.  Oxford University Press, 2012.

41gMlWotsHL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_This outstanding book stems from author Marjorie Corman Aaron’s novel client-counseling course at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, which employed actors to pose as clients for her student-lawyers to counsel. During more than 700 simulated counseling sessions, she witnessed how a student-lawyer’s voice, body language, and movement could either further or obstruct an actor-client’s confidence and trust. The result of her research is this comprehensive investigation into the psychology, emotion, and communication that are at the heart of the attorney-client relationship. Backed by ample social science research, Ms. Aaron’s insights into the specific phrasing, timing, and other nuances of expression will transform how you interact with your clients.

Connecting with Your Client: Success through Improved Client Communications Techniques, by Noelle C. Nelson. American Bar Association, Law Practice Division, 2nd ed., 2015.

ConnectingWithClients_cvr_fullLawyers often ignore the human dimension of law practice and forget that a client’s trust and respect must be earned. Being an expert legal technician is meaningless if service is not delivered in a way that the client can palpably experience, and superior service requires superior communication. This book analyzes frequent problem areas in the lawyer-client relationship and identifies how to effectively use communication to head off any issues. Learn how to express value during the initial client interview with body language and other listening tools, how to use mirroring techniques to foster trust, and how to show empathy to prove that you are your client’s ally. Additional topics include billing issues, informing clients about problems with the case, and preparing clients for deposition or trial.

 

Succeeding as Outside Counsel: A Lawyer’s Guide to Providing First Class Legal Services from the Client’s Perspective, by Rod Boddie.  American Bar Association, Law Practice Division, 2014.

imagesOutside counsel for the corporate client must do more than simply focus on the outcome in a particular matter. An attorney in this role must become a trusted partner who knows the minutiae of the client’s business. Written from the perspective of an in-house lawyer (the de facto client of outside counsel) who frequently relies on the services of outside counsel, this book reveals the client’s perspective on the level of expertise and guidance expected of outside counsel. By adopting a more expansive approach to legal services and acting as a “legal concierge,” outside counsel can learn to deliver cost-effective and client-centric representation. This thorough exploration of the role of outside counsel details common reasons outside counsel is terminated, communication and client-management strategies, a business development plan, and more.

Through the Client’s Eyes: New Approaches to get Clients to Hire You Again and Again, by Henry W. Ewalt.  American Bar Association, Law Practice Management Section, 3rd ed., 2008.

images (1)Now in its third edition, this LPM classic has been further enhanced to specifically address the particular client-relationship concerns of law firm, solo, government, and corporate attorneys. Author Henry W. Ewalt urges that lawyers should spend two hours per week developing client relations in order to reap the benefits of increased business and improved compensation—not to mention more satisfied clients, of course. He guides readers through each phase of the lawyer-client relationship, from the client’s impression of the lawyer’s appearance and manner during the initial interview, to the lawyer’s choice of pronouns when discussing the case, to furthering client trust with detailed billing.

About the author:

Andrea Woods is a Reference Librarian at the San Francisco Law Library.