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Marie Kondo for Lawyers: Tidying Up Your Clients

By George Khoury, Esq. on April 04, 2019

Are you locked into the KonMari method madness yet? Do you evaluate all your possessions in both your personal and professional life to see if each one sparks joy, or should be replaced or relinquished?

If so, it may be time to take it to the next level and start Tidying Up your client list. And while physically holding your client in your hands to see if they spark joy seems mildly awkward at best, read on below for a few tips on how to KoniMari your client list.

What Does Tidying Up Your Clients Mean?

Although it can generally be interpreted at least a few different ways, tidying up your clients, in this context means tidying up your client list. This includes both current and former clients, and no, it doesn’t involve removing those clients from your client checks database. You don’t ever do that.

But it does involve streamlining your marketing by dropping certain current and former clients from your marketing emails and other marketing efforts (such as event or party invites). But how do you decide which clients to cut? Read on below for some advice on applying KonMari to your client list.

Gather All Your Clients, On Paper

Make and/or print out a list of all your current clients, and those past clients that you keep in touch with for whatever reason (marketing, continued/repeat business, friendship, etc…).

Then, clear your desk or conference table and get a stack of post-it notes large enough to put each client name on a post-it. Then create three categories: Clients you want to keep in touch with; clients you only want to market to; and, clients you never want to see again. As you write each client name on the post-it note, hold that note and think about the client, the work you did for them, and how you felt working for them. The answer about which pile they belong in should be pretty clear, but if it’s not, starting gathering some stats on the client, like how much revenue they generated for the firm, or how their case turned out, or how many matters you’ve handled for them, and put some notes on the post-it.

Okay, Now What?

After you’ve separated the clients into the respective piles, create the appropriate lists, if necessary, and make sure they are there. If you have current clients that made the “Clients you never want to see again” list, consider cutting them entirely. If financially feasible, and the client truly makes you miserable, consider referring them to another attorney who might be a better personality fit, or maybe an opposing counsel you want to reward for their cordiality.

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