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Legal Marketing T


Failure to properly inform the client or secure his consent


T Poor communication of administrative events, including timing of steps, fees, and delegation of responsibilities after litigation such as renewing leases with a landlord


Networking, when done right, improves communi-


cation between you and your client to reduce the risk for claims against your practice. Relationship building is also essential within your professional network. Developing a good rapport with other attorneys can bring in referral business. Attorneys in solo practices can share information and even conference rooms or office spaces to interview clients and communicate with paralegals. Experienced attorneys can act as mentors to new attorneys; mentors often refer cases that might pose a conflict of interest for clients in their network. Referrals also relieve temporary workload burdens many offices face when a trial goes longer than expected. Outbound referrals to the right attorneys within the


network can benefit the solo attorney trying to establish an effective person-to-person networking system. When one attorney refers a client to another attorney, the client links the two attorneys in his mind. Person-to-person networking gives solo attorneys the information they need to make good referrals. Referrals with a positive


itself and often requires less of your time as it develops; the internet and computer software also save a great deal of time.


Long-term relationship building is worth the time


investment. In an article for Harvard Business Review, best-selling author and strategic consultant Ken Ferrazzi says, “The impact of relationship building with your customers may surprise you. Ferrazzi Greenlight’s study of 16 Global Account Teams (PDF) showed that these strategic, relationship-focused teams grew their accounts at least twice as fast as regular transactionally-focused account teams. This happened despite the fact that the relationship-focused teams worked on the company’s largest, most mature accounts — the most difficult to expand rapidly because they were already so large. Why? People do business with people they know and like.” Not only will proper person-to-person networking


and good relationship building increase your revenue stream, it also reduces your risk for claims against your solo or small practice. The American Bar Association estimates 12.3 percent of claims against a practice are due to client relation errors. The ABA says these claims arise primarily from three types of communication problems between lawyer and client:


T Failure to understand what the client wants 34 Trial Reporter / Winter 2014


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