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What I wish I’d known: Use customer satisfaction as a litmus test... nothing is more powerful than word-of-mouth praise


David Larney gives his advice.

David Larney gives his advice.

David Larney gives his advice.

Engaging with the legal system can be daunting for individuals and companies. It's an unfamiliar environment with many potential levels of complexity and in some cases, frustration. In the client-lawyer relationship, offering common-sense counsel is really important. And that applies on many levels.

For instance, any company taking on a legal case needs to be advised to really think through the level of business disruption that causes.

Resources are diverted away from main operations while the time and costs involved can be prohibitive and even de-stabilising for the business. Faced with these cold, hard facts a client is better able to identify the merits (or not) of pursuing its case.

I've found that a useful litmus test of how well your business is performing is the level of customer satisfaction. It applies to every enterprise. Nothing is more powerful than good word of mouth and I can't count the number of times we have been awarded a piece of work based on a client recommendation or someone having heard of us as being good to deal with.

A commitment to on-going learning is vital. Formal programmes of education add to your skill set, but good lawyers are always ready to absorb new knowledge from day-to-day interactions. The sheer variety of disciplines and professionals that they have to deal with is surprising.

You have to know a little about everything and to be able to communicate sensibly and deal with everyone. Not over-promising is also essential.

It's too easy to tell people what they want to hear. Ultimately, that's unrealistic and quickly becomes disappointing where what's promised cannot be delivered. It's far better to be upfront from the outset about what's possible and what's not. That way expectations are managed.

The people who are best at their jobs are those who enjoy what they do and genuinely feel that they are making a difference.

The sense of fulfilment when a project is brought to completion, having a constant curiosity about your work and the human condition combined with an ability to see both sides of an argument, and the capacity to put yourself into a client's shoes are hallmarks of the true professional.

Sunday Indo Business