It is February, the month where our attention turns to love. Hearts, flowers, candy and romantic dinners are expected. Red and pink is the palette of choice. Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love brings big expectations and because we are so preoccupied with the love we will shower on our sweethearts this month, we forget about the love we should and give our clients both before, during and after their cases. So this month, I am thinking about how I show “love” (and appreciation) for my clients, not only in February but during the entire year.
1. “Love” from day one
I get a phone call. It’s a new client. A new problem to solve. A new person to help. I feel optimism and “love” thinking of how fortunate I am to be needed. I am ready to save the day!
When I have the first meeting, I listen intently to the issues. I give advice that I believe will prove helpful. I hope that there will be a connection and will be able to work together to bring resolution to a tough situation.
The client decides to move forward with the representation. Life is good.
2. “Love” during the case
Once we get past the initial stage, the client and I are teammates. We need to work together to get a good result. There is still “love” but like any relationship, sometimes there are bumps in the road. True love is not always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes there is tension, sometimes there are disagreements. Despite it all, however, I make sure that my clients know how much I “love” and treasure them by keeping the lines of communication open and truly listening to what they are trying to achieve.
As we work through the day to day aspects of the matter, whether preparing and answering discovery, planning for a hearing or considering a settlement, I show my “love” for my clients by remaining patient and mindful that this may be their first experience with the legal system. I also remember that this matter is the most important matter to them and I am grateful that they have trusted me to help them find a solution.
3. “Love” at the end
When the case ends, there are mixed feelings of satisfaction and sadness. Fondness for my clients has often grown over the time we have worked together. By the end of the case, they are ready to move forward, relieved to put this matter behind them. I am left with an emptiness. have worked hard to bring the matter to a conclusion and no matter the trials (literally) and tribulations necessary to get to the end of the case, there is a sense of loss when it is over. Nonetheless, the “love” I had from the beginning is still present. I appreciate the confidence the client has had in me, while I wish them nothing but the best in the future.
While most of us will not be sending Valentine greetings to our clients this month, it is a good time to reflect on what our clients mean to us. They give purpose to our profession and thus we should value them, respect them and give them the gratitude they deserve.