Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) — The week after Bernard Madoff was charged with running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, Proskauer Rose, a New York firm of 750 lawyers, offered a telephone briefing on the scandal for its wealthy clients. With only a day’s notice, 1,300 Madoff investors dialed in.

“This is a financial 9/11 for our clients,” said Proskauer litigation partner Gregg Mashberg, one of the lawyers on the call. “People are dying for information.”

You may not have anything on the scale of 911 that you can help your clients with but the principle remains valid:

Is what you have to say to clients relevant, timely and valuable? 

If so, they will listen!

These extreme economic times are not the place for the long-term marketing-speak consulting-mumbo jumbo about branding and image.

Your clients (and prospective clients) need your help and they need it now.  How can your firm help your clients with:

strategies to deal with slow paying customers (even potentially bankrupt ones)

employment strategies that allow for layoffs (if necessary) without retribution

renegotiating contracts of all kinds – including leases.

international assistance especially where foreign currency value fluctuation could hurt your client

PUNCHLINE:  You don’t need my list – you need to sit down with your practice group, industry group and/or client team and determine what your clients needs from you.  By the way, don’t hesitate to involve your key clients in this discussion – they will enthusiastically participate (remember to tell them the meter is off if you still bill by the hour).

Note:  The Bloomberg quote and Madoff image above are from a story today called "Madoff Case Promises Fees for Firms Facing Worst Year in Decade"