According to statistics published by the American Bar Association, 90% of private practice clients are dissatisfied with their lawyer at the conclusion of representation. ”Unmet expectations” appears to be the general reason for such poor satisfaction ratings. Lawyers I have talked to about this respond by saying that many clients have unreasonable expectations. Though isn’t it part of the lawyer’s job to set and manage reasonable expectations?
There are two main categories of expectations that lawyers should consider when representing clients: substantive expectations, and transactional expectations. Both are important. Substantive expectations involve what the client hopes to achieve in the matter for which he or she seeks counsel. The lawyer should interview the client and facilitate a conversation that ensures that the client has reasonably achievable substantive expectations.
Transactional expectations involve the relationship between client and lawyer, and include communication and availability expectations, who will do the work, how often the client will be billed, and estimated cost and time-frame to complete the matter. Again, I consider it part of the lawyer’s job to negotiate and set reasonable transactional expectations which might include a range of potential time and cost.
The Likeable Lawyer offers several CLE Webinars that help lawyers develop the tools to facilitate clients to set reasonable substantive and transactional expectations. This month, we are offering three excellent webinars that not only discuss expectations, but also help lawyers develop greater persuasion skills, and negotiate better outcomes for their clients. Of course, better outcomes go a long way to meeting client expectations.
The April webinars include:
The Trusted Lawyer – by webinar on April 8
The Persuasive Lawyer – by webinar on April 8
The Satisfied Client – by webinar on April 15
These programs, and quite a few others, are also available On Demand and by Video Download.
For more information about all of our CLE programs, please visit us at www.likeablelawyer.com