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3 Basic Ways to Keep Your Clients

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. | Last updated on

Clients are hard to find, so the very last thing you want to do is lose them. You've put in so much work, invested so much effort, and -- yes -- relied on a fair bit of luck to convince someone to walk through your door. They've even hired you. So, shouldn't you at least spend as much effort to retain them?

Well, casual observations indicate that lawyers are not very good at this -- the retention part. Here are a couple of things you should watch out for in your own practice.

Stop Making Stupid Errors

Everybody makes stupid errors. It's part of being human. But clients will quickly lose confidence in your ability to handle their case if you consistently and regularly make careless errors. These include misspellings of client or party names, typos in court documents, or even unprofessional-looking cross outs. I've said repeatedly in these blogs that the appearance of a lawyer cannot be overemphasized. You probably don't need to look ultra-polished, but you certainly cannot afford to look unkempt.

If you're like me and you have a tendency to type too quickly, just take an extra minute just to review your work so that these key areas are correct: the client's name, addresses, and property subject to litigation. You'll be glad you took the time.

Toss the Grandpa-Style Payment Schemes and Get Modern

With new legal technologies coming out every day, there are endless ways to upgrade your legal practice.

As for checks, a good many clients don't even carry checks anymore. Depending on your area of practice, some clients don't even have checking accounts.

But almost everyone has a debit or even a credit card. The better plan is to be flexible with your accepted payments. LawPay is a credit card processor that also happens to be compliant with all the IOLTA requirements. And yes, there is a feed involved, but think about it. You'll be taking in 94 percent of your charged amount today guaranteed as opposed to maybe 100 percent of your full charged price tomorrow -- or maybe never.

Don't Lose Your Cool

Being a lawyer is stressful. The kinds of people who need lawyers are often at their wit's end and could be facing criminal sanctions, the possibility of eviction, or losing child custody. They're frazzled. Do everything in your power to keep a staid demeanor. If you lose your cool, you'll only make things worse. This is, of course, easier said than done but it cannot be forgotten.

One attorney I know swears by her standing desk when she isn't seeing a client. In fact, she likes it so much that it could be even become a regular fixture of her office. Strive to keep regular exposure to sunlight just to help sync your internal clock. Do anything you can to relieve built up stress. It's hard, but it's also your health.

And it's also your career. Clients have very big mouths. A client is more likely to trash your reputation for a small infraction on your part than they are to laud you when you go above and beyond on their behalf. You need help building your reputation, not damaging it.

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