In my 36 years of practice, I have heard from clients and prospective clients about the issues and problems they have had with other law firms. In most cases, their problems are not with the quality of the service being delivered but with every other aspect of the lawyer-client relationship. Over and over again, the complaints range from a lack of communication or no communication to problems with billing. The bottom line is that clients are saying in different ways that they are experiencing a lack of respect from their law firms. To that end, I have created our own client bill of rights as follows:
1. Be Accessible and Responsive – Return phone calls, e-mails and other forms of communication in a timely manner in order to meet client expectations. Quick, good and useful is better than too late and perfect. By providing our clients with home and mobile telephone numbers for communication – day and night – access to my office or to me directly is never an issue.
2. Be Courteous and Communicate – Treat the client the way that you would want to be treated. Understand the client's point of view and expectations. Strive to be concise and keep the client informed whenever necessary.
3. We Take Responsibility for Our Actions – The buck stops here. I accept the responsibility of serving as outside legal counsel very seriously. It is my obligation, from the start to the finish of any case, to identify and correct problems swiftly. It is also my obligation to accept responsibility for my mistakes.
4. Be Creative and Effective – I attempt to exceed the expectations of our clients in every case. To do this, I try to find new and innovative ways to accomplish client objectives in each and every case.
5. Greater Value, Less Cost – By conservatively staffing projects, meeting deadlines in a timely manner and using the latest available technologies, I can keep costs down for our clients and maximize the value of their cases and;
6. We Play as a Team – I believe that the involvement and opinion of every client is important and can facilitate a smoother legal process. By adding different perspectives in each case, I am generally able to reach more successful resolutions in a shorter time frame.
At the end of the day, our bill of rights is my firm's way to ensure that we respect each and every case and client every single day.