Here are some of my favorite posts.  I hope you enjoy them.



Here are some of my favorite posts.  I hope you enjoy them.



Here are some of my favorite posts.  I hope you enjoy them.


The Curse of Almost Done

A few days ago, I wrote about how I was suffering from The Curse of Almost Happy. I realized that being “close to” fulfillment in my life and career wasn’t close at all. So, as I’ve spent this past weekend knocking off several things on my “To Do for Too Long” list, it hit me that a cause (companion?) to that Curse is another one: The Curse of Almost Done.

Unless you’re a hyper-productive, always-on-top-of-everything person, you know what I’m talking about. The Curse of Almost Done is evident all around you. It manifests itself the moment you put off completing those last few steps of a project that is “almost done.” It keeps you from picking those projects up and finishing them now because you’ve got more important things to start, and since they are, after all, “Almost done.”

Well, I’ve battled the Curse of Almost Done all weekend. I’m finally happy to unveil the new LexThink.com. It isn’t done, but it is done enough.

Let me know what you think. Still to come: links to my presentations, a client intranet site, some video, my first e-book, and a top-secret project that will launch in two weeks (I promise).

So what’s on your “To Do for Too Long” list? Set aside a day each week where you swear to not start anything new. Use that day just for completing things. “Finish Fridays” anyone?

Ten Rules of Client Service

Quick, name your favorite customer service class from law school.  Can’t do it?  I’m not surprised.  Most lawyers don’t learn much about client service in school, and the only class that touches upon service at all is Legal Ethics — which is kind of like teaching someone to ride a bike by showing them lots of bicycle accidents.

By delivering great service, you can delight your customers, increase their satisfaction (and reduce malpractice exposure), cut your marketing budget and turn your clients into your best salespeople.  And because many of your peers believe something as simple as returning client calls is optional, the bar to delivering the best client service in your community is set pretty low. 

Here then, are 10 simple “rules” to help you remember that it is your customers who keep you in business, and when you work to delight (instead of frustrate) them, you’ll both be successful.

1.  Just because clients don’t expect great service from lawyers doesn’t excuse you from providing it.

2.  Don’t assume you’re great at service because your current clients don’t leave.  Many remain your clients because they fear their new lawyer will treat them just like you do.

3.  It costs less to delight a client than it does to frustrate them.  You pay to delight them once, but you pay for frustrating them forever.

4.  It is also far cheaper to compete on service than it is on price, because there will always be someone far cheaper.

5.  People tell others about service they receive, not competence they expect.  Ever heard someone brag about how clean their dry cleaners get their clothes? 

6.  The time clients care about isn’t yours, it’s theirs.  Build your practice to save them time and they’ll be less reluctant to pay you for yours.

7.  Though you might be measured against your peers in a courtroom, when it comes to service, you’re measured against everyone.  If your clients named the top ten places they get great service, would your business make the list?  It should.

8.  Eighty percent of your time should be spent on satisfying your clients’ expectations and twenty percent should be spent on exceeding them.

9.  You can’t measure how you’re doing when you only ask how you’ve done.  Improving client service begins with learning how to serve your current clients better.

10.  If your clients can go months without hearing from you, they can go forever without recommending you.  To lawyers, indifference and incompetence are two different things.  To clients, they are one in the same.

If you’d like to see some more posts like this one, check out: Ten Rules of RainmakingTen Tweets about TwitterTen Resolutions for the New YearTen Rules for Law Students, Ten Rules for the New Economy, Ten Rules for New Solos, Ten Rules of Legal InnovationTen Rules of Legal Technology, Ten Rules of Hourly Billing and Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing

Also, if you’d like to see hundreds more ideas on creative ways to deliver great client service, check out all of the Client Service posts here on this blog.

Give Clients More Certainty

Clients crave predictability.  They find comfort in knowing what to expect — especially in stressful situations like the ones you handle for them everyday.

But how can you deliver more certainty to your clients?  After all, outcomes are impossible to predict and matters ebb and flow from beginning to end.  You keep your clients “in the know,” writing them when something’s going on, calling or meeting with them when there’s something to discuss and billing them (almost) every month.

If you want to understand how predictable you are to clients, begin by looking at each file as they do.

While a file may remain “active” to you, your clients may feel otherwise.  Their only cues to the activity on their case come from you, in the form of correspondence, calls, meetings or bills .  When they’re not receiving regular, predictable updates on what’s happening, they become uncomfortable and stressed.

Want to better understand how your clients perceive your handling of their matter?  Using the diagram below as a guide, take a few active files and a blank calendar, and map out  for each the days you write the client, call them, meet them or bill them.  What do you see?

If you asked your clients to name the next thing they expect from you (and when they’ll get it) would they have a answer?

If your client interactions look as unpredictable and scattered as the ones below, that’s probably how your clients are feeling about the work you’re doing for them.  By giving them a measure of certainty about the things you can control, you’ll have much calmer clients, who are much happier with the work you do.

 

Ten Rules for Presenters

Lately, I’ve been giving lots of presentations, and have six more coming up before the Summer ends. I work pretty hard on my speeches (here are a few examples of my slides) and thought I’d share some of the tips I’ve learned the hard way in this Ten Rules post. Enjoy! 1.  The greatest gift…

Your clients still don’t care where you went to law school.

This is an update to this post from a few years ago.

Resolve to Support the Causes Your Clients Do

If you’ve got a big client, odds are they’ve got a pet project.  Whether it is for a community organization, charity, civic group or volunteer event, supporting the causes your clients do can deepen your relationship with them while benefiting those in need. That’s why, in 2010 you need to Resolve to Take Care of…

Ten Rules for Law Students

Over a year ago, I wrote 15 Thoughts for Law Students.  It was one of my first “Rules” posts, though I wasn’t calling them that at the time.  Since then, it has been one of the more popular items on this blog, and was even republished in the Canadian Bar Association magazine.  I’ve revised it…

100 Tweets: Thinking About Law Practice in 140 Characters or Less.

I really like Twitter.  For those who follow me, you know that I try to share lots of legal-themed tips, thoughts and ideas.  In fact, most of my Ten Rules posts started out on Twitter — where I’ll test 15-25 “rules” to see which ones work best before picking the ten favorites. However, there’s lots…

Best of NBH: Stop Fixing Your Own Tech

Here’s a tech-related tip from this post: How many times has a quick technology fix turned into a day of un-billable time?  Trust me on this one, no matter how much (or little) work you have, your time is better spent building your business and serving your clients than it is crawling around on the…

Best of NBH: Autopsy Your Dead Files

Remember the television show Quincy?  Jack Klugman played a Los Angeles medical examiner, and in every episode, his autopsy would reveal that the decedent (who’d seemingly died of “natural” causes) was a victim of foul play.  Using the clues he’d gained from his examinations, Quincy would convince the police a homicide had occurred, and then manage…

What are your Relationship Rituals?

Keith Ferrazzi shares a few simple “Relationship Rituals” that should be on every professional’s weekly checklist: 1.    First thing every day after you turn on your computer, ping one friend and one acquaintance. 2.    Every weekend, invite someone else into an activity that you normally do alone (walks, gym sessions, gardening, shopping trips). 3.    Pick…

Ten Resolutions for the New Year

As 2008 draws to a close, it is natural to think about New Year’s resolutions.*  We think about our businesses, our clients and ourselves and resolve to do better next year.  If you’d like some help, or just some inspiration, here are Ten Resolutions for the New Year.  Enjoy: 1.  Resolve to be better to…

Ten New Rules of Legal Marketing

Legal Marketing has changed.  It used to be enough to keep an ad in the yellow pages and belong to the Rotary Club.  Not anymore.  Times are tough, so I present to you Ten “New” Rules of Legal Marketing.  Let me know what you think. 1.  “My lawyer can beat up your lawyer” isn’t a…

Your Clients Don’t Care Where You Went to Law School

After my Law Firm Website Venn Diagram got such great feedback, I thought I’d do another highlighting one of my big pet peeves: lawyer bios.  Here you go:

Happy Holidays from My Team at Kendeo

Some of you may know about Kendeo, the design and strategy consulting company I own where I do all my ‘non-legal’ work.  I often tell people that “we draw pictures of hard-to-understand things,” and that’s pretty much true. We had some fun with our Holiday card this year and I really wanted to share it…

Focus on Quality of Experience

Lots of lawyers claim to be “results-focused.”  Clients want good results, after all, and marketing yourself as one “focused” on delivering them has got to be a lot better  (to clients, anyway) than being “timesheet-focused.”  However, I think  many lawyers who focus only on the result are hurting their clients (and their own practices).  Let…

Ask Your Clients Better Questions

In A Manager’s Primer on Asking Better Questions, Marty Baker at Creativity Central shares several dozen open-ended questions designed for various situations like Anticipation, Assessment and Clarification that serve as a valuable reminder that “yes” or “no” questions don’t always get you the information you need. Here’s the suggested questions on “Exploration” from the post:…

Ten Rules of Legal Innovation

“Innovative Lawyer” shouldn’t be an oxymoron.  Lawyers — who are constantly applying their creative, problem-solving skills to help clients — too often turn their innovation engines off as soon as their “billable” work ends.  If you’re a lawyer, and willing to set aside some time to innovate, I am happy to help you.  Until then,…

Resolve to De-Confuse Clients

What confuses your clients?  What are the things that your clients never seem to really understand?  Is it the directions to your office, your retainer agreement or their monthly bill? No matter how much you deserve it, undivided attention from clients is a rarity today.  Whether it is because of their email pinging, cell phones…

Thank Your Clients This Year

You have just enough time to send out Thanksgiving cards to your clients this year.  Why Thanksgiving cards instead of other holiday cards?  Here are a few reasons from this 2008 post: Thanksgiving is a holiday about giving thanks.  Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to offer your clients a genuine “Thank you for being our…