There are many fields of law, and in most of these fields attorneys will spend a great deal of time with their clients. It’s a necessary step for providing effective representation. The law is personal. We stay with our clients for months and in some cases years, so it’s imperative we develop a trusting relationship with our clients and even others working on the case. Attorneys follow very specific rules of conduct, which have been established by the American Bar Association, and these rules also contribute to our ability to establish trust with our clients. Below are a few tips for establishing relationships with clients. These can also transcend over to other industries.
- Begin by talking with your client to learn their expectations and their thoughts on establishing a professional relationship. A client-vendor relationship is built upon mutual trust, where both parties are open about what they need from the relationship, and are flexible and willing to change their way of doing things, if needed.
- Define your working relationship. It is imperative that you and your clients both understand what the relationship will entail, the expectations, and how the case strategy will be developed and what that involves. For many clients, this might be their first experience with an attorney, so the issue is the most important thing in their life at the moment, while the attorney might be covering several cases of equal importance and priority. The client’s anxiety can be resolved with a discussion about your experience, the process, and what the client can expect to happen going forward.
- Show a genuine interest in your client, in what they do and how they came to seek your services.
- Ask questions, including seeking feedback on performance. We all can and should learn from our mistakes or shortcomings. Casework is very complex and requires attention to many details. Having open and frank discussions with clients will help with information exchange and establishing trust.
- Communicate clearly and often. Discuss and agree on what the best means of communication will be for both of you. Communication increases trust. With clear and consistent communication, clients will feel less fearful and more like a participant in the entire process.