Recently, in a meeting with a successful “30-something” tax attorney, I was discussing with him the things he wanted to change or improve in his practice.  I asked him what was the most frustrating thing about his practice in which he quickly replied, “some of my clients”.

I asked him if he was ready to leave the practice and open the upscale restaurant, he had discussed earlier. He said, “No, but I do want to figure out a way to get it across to my clients that calling or e-mailing with a 5-part legal question is not like going through a drive through restaurant and placing an order to be picked up in seconds.”

He said that so often a client waits to call until the last minute or until something has escalated to the point that it will take hours to correct rather than minutes and then they don’t understand why it’s not done “immediately”.

“The perception is that lawyers only fill out forms that they get online at the “Get a Form” site for their state and that is all it takes to be a good attorney.  They do not realize that I have to take ALL of their extenuating circumstances into consideration for each part of their 5-part question and then decide the action that will be best for them now AND later.  There is just a lot more to do than they realize.”

I thought, “No wonder this firm has an AV Rating!”

In trying to come up with some possible solutions for that issue, I asked about developing a client education page for his website and he didn’t think much of that idea.  “Too much time to put into something that the clients will not read anyway,” was his reply.

Another idea was to develop a “let the call come through” list of clients to help his assistants make decisions regarding interrupting his time. He thought about that and rejected it as too strict.

Then we discussed time blocking – he tried that and it didn’t work for him. When he finally decided he is not truly ready for a change, we left the situation as is – yet – during the exchange of ideas, we realized he needs a better filing system!