Forget The Cyber Deals, Let’s Refocus On How a Colorado Law Practice Can Give Thanks
Recognizing Community & Clients
Thanksgiving is – as advertised – a time when we give thanks to those around us. Unfortunately, it seems that lately this sentiment has gotten away from us. What was once the last frontier of non-commercialized holidays has officially fallen victim to the marketing ploys of advertisers. Well, for me and my Colorado law practice business, at least, we focus on being thankful for our customers year round and not on selling out.
Black Friday has long been a mainstay, I’ll give that one a pass. But with the introduction of Cyber Monday, things have gotten out of hand quickly. Cyber Monday has now been extended to a full Cyber Week. Even Black Friday deals, if my inbox is any evidence, are becoming a week-long event. Giving Tuesday was meant to turn our attention back to thinking about our community and how we might help others. If you ask me, though – and it’s my blog, so you did – the philanthropic frenzy is becoming just as commercialized and in-your-face as the for-profit rat race. Consider the subject line of this email that came in for Giving Tuesday, of all things: “$=$$$ $=$$$ $=$$$”. Ridiculous, right?
In the face of all this commercialization and non-stop focus on buying, selling, things, money, stuff stuff stuff, I want to take a moment before the Thanksgiving momentum dies down to flip the script and focus on what giving (and giving thanks) really looks like. I’ll do this in the context of explaining how I give to those who sustain me and my livelihood: clients of my Colorado law practice.
Customer Service Means Serving Customers
As a criminal defense attorney, there’s no question that I’m in the customer service industry. Some in the legal profession might not want to admit this, but clients are the foundation of any attorney’s business. If you don’t focus on how to best serve those clients, chances are high that they will leave and find another attorney who will.
Customer service in the context of a Colorado law practice isn’t rocket science. There are some incredibly simple strategies for giving to clients and showing you appreciate them, which in turn fosters a client-centric law practice. Here are some behaviors, obvious though they might be, that I find to have high impact when it comes to serving customers.
It’s easy for attorneys to say they respect their clients, but it’s another thing to actually demonstrate respect for each and every client that walks through the door. Being polite and kind to clients is one of the ways I demonstrate my respect for YOU, your case, and what it means to your life.
This is particularly impactful in my line of criminal defense work because my clients are often in the position of having been charged – rightfully or wrongfully – with some sort of crime. It’s common for these clients to feel judged, by family, friends, their employers, and the system. But none of that means these people don’t deserve to be treated with respect, so I make sure every client knows I’m not judging them or their actions – and that I’m there for them. People make mistakes, but those mistakes don’t have to define them in my eyes.
Attorneys like to talk. We’re good at it, and frankly, it’s what clients pay us to do much of the time. But before I get rolling on giving advice and explaining strategies, I give my clients the time and space to tell their story. This is hugely important.
Attorneys know which parts of an event or client story are relevant to proving or defending a legal issue; we also know which aspects of a client’s situation will be immaterial to the matter. But to clients, everything is important. And they deserve a listening ear.
Part of my approach to serving clients is proactive and frequent communication. Attorneys think they communicate, but all too often we only reach out to clients when there is something to communicate about. This makes sense from our standpoint: I can’t update clients unless I have something to update them on. But from the client perspective, the uncertainty and concern is ongoing throughout a legal case.
Sometimes, an ‘I have no updates right now’ message to the client is actually a really meaningful update. I frequently tell clients what’s going on in their case, even if what I’m telling them is that nothing is going on. It gives me an opportunity to check in with them and makes it clear that I’m available and accessible.
You can listen, communicate, and be as kind as ever, but little will substitute for action. As an attorney, and particularly a criminal defense attorney, there are just those times when you need to drop everything and get to court at a moment’s notice. These are a routine part of my day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because when a client needs that sort of help, and you’re the only person who can provide it, you just do it.
Prove that You Actually Want to Serve Clients
Finally, one of the most important and (in my opinion) most overlooked ways that an attorney can give to clients is by being flexible with fee and payment options. When I was in law school–and I suspect things haven’t changed considerably since–there was a very clear divide between those of us who were entering the profession to serve people and those who were becoming a lawyer to make money.
I am firmly in the camp of the former, so I don’t charge premiums to pad my pockets at the expense of my clients, many of whom are in precarious and vulnerable situations with the law. When I founded my Colorado law practice, I wanted to focus on helping people, not making big-firm dollars. I do charge what I think I am worth given my education and my experience, but I make my services as affordable as possible (for more on attorney’s fees and costs of legal help, you might check this post out). I also provide clients with options that enable them to afford my services, including discounts, payment plans, and other alternative arrangements. Ask me what my Colorado law practice can do to make it affordable for you!
A firm founded on serving Colorado communities
Nicol Gersch Petterson Offices, LLC is dedicated to serving Colorado communities. I match deep criminal defense experience with an unparalleled dedication to serving my clients at all costs. Born and raised in rural Colorado, I’m thankful to be able to give back to a community that gave me so much.
If you or someone you know is facing a criminal legal issue, email firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a free initial consultation here. And if cost is an issue, let’s talk about any number of options that might fit your specific needs and circumstances.