Your clients expect:
- To feel like they are your only client.
- Your full and immediate attention.
- You to meet all deadlines.
- Error free work.
- You to be on their side in all matters financial and emotional.
Plus, with social media, now more than ever your reputation is your business.
Is it any wonder you expect the same thing from those you hire to help you with your law practice?
I hate to say this, but working for attorneys IS different than working for other small businesses.
When I was helping out at a friend’s flooring company and their internet went down, she said “Oh that happens all the time. We won’t have it back today.” I was amazed. Can you imagine your internet going down and not calling your provider and having a very firm conversation about continuing to pay them if they can’t provide the service you need?
Can you imagine calling a company to help you file a motion, being put on hold for 15 minutes and then being connected with someone in a different country?
Business partners know it is very hard to break into the legal support field. Attorneys ask each other who they use for different services for recommendations. This is a good policy. However, I don’t recommend asking people in different lines of business for recommendations.
An insurance broker who doesn’t work with law firms, may not be the best person to advise you on your professional liability policy. A technology company who has never worked with practice management software, may not be the best company to call for help.
There are some great networking groups that can be a source of building relationships and getting referrals. You don’t expect to be hired to handle a divorce if you are an estate planning lawyer. Why would you hire a real estate broker who has never negotiated a commercial lease to help you with yours?
Don’t be someone’s test, beta or way to break into legal support. Your business and reputation are too important. The frustration and time wasted on managing bad support companies is not worth it. I’m not saying if a company works with law firms, they are going to be great. What I am saying is, it should be something to consider when hiring a company to help you with your law practice.
Be very clear about your expectations.
I’m always surprised when I don’t get a reply to an email before the end of the day (midnight) or at the latest, within 24 hours. When working with legal vendors, they know this is important. If I don’t hear back, I assume you aren’t interested.
I have worked with two different web design companies in the past 18 months and neither of them could meet the deadlines that THEY set. That is always a surprise for me. BTW, I have found a designer to help me who responds and has met every deadline he has set.
It is important to get the support you need when you need it and it is possible.
In an effort to help my clients and other solo and small law firms, I have put together a resource page on my website. The link is below.
Diane L. Camacho, CLM, SPHR