Book review: Three books to help lawyers communicate better
The practicePRO Lending Library has more than 100 practice management titles available to Ontario lawyers free of charge. below are three books that will be of great help to lawyers looking to improve how they communicate with their clients. For a full list of the books available and details on how to borrow one, visit www.practicepro.ca/library.
Through the Client’s Eyes
Through the Client’s Eyes, by Henry W. Ewalt and Andrew W. Ewalt asks lawyers to think of their practices as client centred businesses responsive to customer needs. Adapting firm practices to suit clients’ needs isn’t just a feel-good exercise; clients are increasingly willing to take their money elsewhere if they don’t get good customer service.
Lawyers should look at their firms through their clients’ eyes. What is their experience when they first walk in the office? Does anyone take the time to learn more about them than the bare facts of their case? Are they kept informed about the progress of their case and how they are being billed? Are they asked for their feedback after the matter is closed? This book contains advice on how to do all of these things, which will not only ensure more satisfied clients but also make it more likely the firm will see repeat business from them. (A full review can be found at www.practicepro.ca/library).
How to Get and Keep Good Clients
How to Get and Keep Good Clients is by Jay G. Foonberg, who is well known for the American Bar Association’s best-selling title ever: How to Start and Build a Law Practice. This book is a collection of practical tips, checklists and anecdotes on growing a client base and keeping existing clients satisfied.
Many of the chapters’ names speak for themselves, such as “How to Handle People who Hate Lawyers or the Legal System,” or “Cases Which Should Be Turned Down.” A perennial favourite: “Foonberg’s Favourite 51 Rules of Good Client Relations for the Busy Lawyer.”
The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success
The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success is co-authored by practicePRO’s Dan Pinnington and U.S. practice management advisor Reid Trautz. This book builds on practicePRO’s main risk management message: communications breakdowns are the number one cause of malpractice claims against lawyers. In this book the authors have distilled their knowledge and experience of practice and risk management into a pocket guide of tips, checklists and ideas to help lawyers be more successful in their practices.
The first chapter is devoted to client service and includes tips on how lawyers can improve their client service during intake, a list of things that annoy clients most, how lawyers can make themselves more accessible (it’s a good thing, honest!) and advice on telephone and business etiquette that will leave clients more satisfied with the service they receive. Subsequent chapters deal with marketing, technology, professionalism and better management of the firm.
Tim Lemieux is practicePRO coordinator at LAWPRO.