YourABA June 2012 Masthead

10 ways to keep clients happy so you don't lose them

Managing a law practice means not only generating sufficient business but also taking care of the clients you do have. In a recent GPSolo article, David Leffler, a founding member of Leffler Marcus & McCaffrey in New York, offered these 10 tips to keep clients content.

  1. Listen to your clients to determine what they really want and what is best for them. For example, a client may want litigation when a settlement may be a more cost-effective solution.
  2. Communicate clearly. Explain the legalities so the client can understand them. You should be able to describe complex legal matters in simple language.
  3. Don't talk down to clients. Ask a colleague to observe how you behave with your clients for helpful feedback.
  4. Respect your client. Return phone calls promptly and show up to meetings on time, or even early.
  5. Maintain consistent fees. Making special reductions to fees could lead the client to question the value of your services.
  6. Stay in contact. Even if there are no new developments, keep in touch. If you let too much time pass without contacting your client, he or she may assume the worst about the legal matter. Often, an email will suffice.
  7. Help your client in any way you can. Draw on all of your resources for clients — bankers, accountants, other lawyers.
  8. Be available. Offer your cellphone number to clients. Most clients won't take it, but you may hear from a few of them, even on weekends.
  9. Have a sense of humor. Laughter can lighten a tense moment or fill a lull in a conversation. It also can help relax a client. Just be careful not to overdo it or use it at the wrong time.
  10. Get (a little) personal. When the time is right—not in the middle of an intense discussion about legal issues—talk to clients about their families or outside interests, and remember to ask about them on follow-up visits.

GP Solo is a publication of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division.            

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