Improve Your Practice: Think Like a Client
The Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System (IAALS) partnered with Avvo to analyze 2,232 reviews from registered Avvo consumers to determine what clients want from their attorneys. The resulting 32-page report, Think Like a Client published today, gives attorneys a thorough understanding of what clients want and expect from them. The report, rich in verbatim from clients, is organized into five categories of what clients require.
Category #1: Communication
The communications section of the report covers four primary areas in which clients would like to hear from their attorneys, all revolving around expectation management. Clients want attorneys who tell them what to expect, both at the beginning of the relationship and as the case progresses. They appreciate knowing their options and what outcomes are possible and probable. Honesty is critical.
Category #2: Demeanor
Unsurprisingly, clients appreciate attorneys who are professional, trustworthy, compassionate, and courteous. The demeanor category digs into clients’ perceptions and expectations about their interpersonal relations with the client. A client doesn’t want to feel like they’re “just another number” or source of income.
Category #3: Business Model
An attorney who shows genuine interest is usually one who delivers value for the client. In contrast to the attorney who collects payment and fails to deliver results, the one with a client-friendly business model will put service above income. This section delves into clients’ perceptions about cost and value for the money.
Category #4: Lawyering
Clients expressed a wide range of views about their attorneys specifically related to the practice of law. This section focuses on the attorneys’ ability to negotiate, their legal knowledge and in-court advocacy.
Category #5: Tenacity
Client’s views on a lawyer’s ability to see a case through to its finish, and to do so in a timely fashion, comprises this final section. Cases won’t always close as quickly as a client would like, but it is within the attorney’s power to show that they are working to move it along.
A Comprehensive Look at Prospects and Clients
Clients want attorneys who put them first and get the best results possible, without making the client feel like they’re just one of many. Reports like the IAALS’s Think Like a Client give lawyers detailed insights into how to accomplish these ends.
Martindale-Avvo’s “Hiring an Attorney 2019” serves as an excellent complement to this data. It details how clients search for and choose an attorney, from how they use referrals to how they prefer to make contact. Together, these two reports offer a comprehensive understanding of what clients need and appreciate.