When lawyers first started creating bios of themselves for use in firm promotion, clients generally used them to choose a firm, or to check out who they’d be working with after the firm had made the assignment. However, Michael Rynowecer at The Mad Clientist warns that these days, clients are using attorney bios to assess prospective candidates for legal work they need to have done – and then advising the law firm of the name of the lawyer with whom they wish to work.
Rynowecer points out that today’s clients aren’t interested in hearing excuses about why the associate they want is not available. They feel that if they are paying the bills, they should be able to have the lawyer they want.
Aware that law firms have far greater knowledge of firm operations and areas of expertise than their clients do, Rynowecer offers several suggestions on ways to avoid fruitless arguments with clients and to circumvent any pressure to make concessions that work against the goals of the firm itself.
Among these (excellent) suggestions:
- Getting clients used to having legal teams, so that they are not concerned about who is working on a particular aspect of their legal business: They know their team will find the best person for the job;
- Fostering the kind of deep knowledge of clients that allows discussion of the client’s present and future needs in the context of who will be working for them;
- Asking clients what they want to see in a lawyer; and
- Creating client-focussed bios.
“Law firms protect client relationships and value by staying ahead of staffing and [other] needs,” Rynowecer points out. His observations and suggestions are worth examining in detail.