Reflections: What does a client want from a lawyer? Part 3

Something which can annoy clients universally, I find,  is being passed over to a “colleague,” whom the client doesn’t know and is almost inevitably junior and doesn’t know the client’s business. There is nothing worse for a client when they have something which is very close to their heart and/or of a business critical nature, for a partner to say “I am bringing in so- and- so who will deal with this for you” and then they swan off to something else they regard as more important than you. You then get a disjointed service with you the client managing several specialists in the law firm, none of whom hold the whole picture and you then spend time updating each of the specialists and doing the job the lead lawyer should have been doing in the first place.

In my experience clients will pay for good advice and service, but what they don’t want is disjointed specialist  or junior input telling them what the law is instead of guiding them to a rounded commercial decision. Worse they don’t want an expensive lawyer who is learning on the job and a partner who doesn’t communicate with their team properly. So the client finds themselves having to explain the commercial sensitivities, explain fine nuances and delicate strategies over and over. The client meanwhile is paying for the legal team to get up to speed and to learn, infuriating.

I have nothing against junior lawyers, by the way, they are brilliant, keen, energetic and clever and innovative, sometimes, and the leaders of the future. In a properly structured team, which is communicating well, the right work can be delegated to the right level of lawyer and the outcome can be a well produced, efficient job with the costs managed well for the client. Problem is it’s so easy to say and so many lawyers get this balance and judgement wrong.

If you are offering a partner lead service, make it so. At Hackwood Houston we do.