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Dealing With Clients

Beware the Mis-named Non-Refundable Retainer

September 24, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

UPDATE – In December 2008, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed this decision and held that the non-refundable retainer passed ethical muster because the agreement was unambiguous. See here . Thank goodness for lawyers who are willing to risk a disciplinary sanction to retain $2500 of money that any objective observer would recognize as unearned and […]

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Real Life Marketing and Client Service Lessons, Courtesy of Jet Blue

February 21, 2007 by Carolyn Elefant

Even after practicing law for 18 years, underneath my general air of confidence and my excess precaution with much of what I do lies a deep fear that at any minute, I could screw up in a major, big time way.  But now, courtesy of Jet Blue, there’s a lesson from the school of real […]

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Lawyers as the Bearers of Bad News

December 17, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

The recent shootings at a Chicago law firm by Joe Jackson, a disgruntled and crazed client have spawned a search for reasons behind the tragedy.  This article, Lawyers balance inventors’ hope (12/17/06) explores one rationale: that Jackson, like other inventors who seek patents, hold an unrealistic hope of success.  According to one  patent attorney quoted […]

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The Limits of Managing Client Relationships

December 9, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

More lawyers are focusing on managing client relations, adopting techniques from putting ourselves in our clients’ shoes to soliciting feedback through surveys to treating them with respect.  But sometimes, no matter what we do, clients get frustrated and angry – often not with their lawyers but with the inherent limitations of our justice system – […]

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Twelve Rules of Great Client Service

November 5, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Dan Hull of What About Clients has rounded up twelve of his past blog posts into a comprehensive Twelve Rules of Client Service.  Read it if you want to stay a step ahead of your competitors. Though Dan’s post addresses client service, it’s actually a great model for great rules for serving your blog readers.  […]

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Lawyers: Do You Eat Your Own Dogfood?

October 17, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

My husband recently started a new position at a technology company that, like many others, eats its own dogfood, i.e., it uses the product that it makes.  For lawyers, our dogfood is our advice to our clients.  But how many lawyers “eat own dogfood” when we draft retainer agreements for our clients? This article, NY […]

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You Get the Clients You Market For

August 30, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Via Ernie the Attorney comes this link to a provocative You Tube ad by Florida divorce attorney Steve Miller (posted at Denise Howell’s new fun blog).  After insulting paralegals, overpriced downtown lawyers and court clerks, Miller invites clients who want to escape “the hellhole they call a marriage” to visit his website, pay up and […]

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How to politely decline…and avoid a lawsuit

July 7, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Recently, Allison Shields posted here on the benefits that lawyers can gain from hospitality, which is what excellent client service is all about.  But this article Thou Shalt Not… by Steven Lubet  (American Lawyer, 7/2006) got me to thinking that hospitality and just plain courtesy have other benefits as well:  they can spare you from […]

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The Paradox of Client Service

July 1, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

There are a number of blogs like Dan Hull’s What About Clients? and In Search of Perfect Client Service that provide excellent advice on how to serve clients.  At the same time, for some lawyers, particularly new solos, serving clients isn’t as much of a problem as figuring out how to avoid falling into what […]

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Clients As Pals: Almost As Bad as the Client from Hell

April 25, 2006 by Carolyn Elefant

Talk to any solo, and invariably, he or she will share a story of a client from hell.  You know who I’m talking about:  the one who won’t pay the bills, who calls at all hours, who wonders why a 20 page motion took 10 hours to draft or who complains about how lawyers are […]

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