Do Lawyers Need To Become All-Rounders To Breed Client Loyalty?
In an age when clients want their lawyers to be advisers, both on a personal and business level, beyond the job at hand, and where there is enough choice for clients to ‘shop around’, how do lawyers ensure that they keep hold of their best clients for the long-term?
The problem is that most lawyers in Britain are specialists, so for example, a corporate lawyer wouldn’t prepare their client’s will or do the paperwork on a house sale. But what this means is that the lawyer only gets to know their client to a limited extent and when a matter comes up outside of their specialism, the client is passed over to a colleague, so it could be months or even years between calls or visits. This means that it is unlikely that you will build up a close relationship with the client and the tiniest niggle could see the client walk away from you – and the firm – for good. And more than this, because clients can’t quantify what a lawyer does for them – it’s not as if they walk out the door with a new car for their money – loyalty is hard to come by.
So what is the answer? Is the only solution to become more like the American system and practise as many areas of law as possible, so the client can come to you for almost anything and you can build a strong and long-lasting relationship with them? Or do you have to take a managerial role when cross-referring clients to colleagues, so the client gets the work done by someone else, but you are always present at meetings and oversee the work that is done (even if you do not specialise in that area) and keep fully up-to-speed with all the client’s dealings?
What does the future hold for the legal industry in this regard? What do you think?