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The Ernie the Attorney web log recently posted about the dissatisfaction clients have with their attorneys. In my opinion, the difference between a good lawyer and a bad lawyer is the desire and the ability of the attorney to establish a relationship with the client so a clear understanding of the client’s needs can be defined and the effort undertaken to explain the issues to the client so they remained fully informed as the representation progresses.

It was interesting to me to note that dissatisfaction with attorneys is not a concern limited to just individual clients but also a concern raised by corporate general counsel about their company’s outside attorneys. A recent ABA survey shows that 70 percent of corporate in-house counsel are dissatisfied with their outside lawyers.

The results show customer service in a corporate-client relationship is paramount, and it is “not just about returning phone calls,” says BTI president Michael B. Rynowecer. “The major components of client satisfaction are the ability to make legal expertise client-specific, to understand the client’s business, to go beyond what’s anticipated and to achieve the client’s goals.”

Whether in the corporate setting or in the representation of everyday people, the primary areas of concern include: (1) failing to keep up with clients’ changing needs; (2) failing to articulate the value they deliver; and (3) not communicating well with clients. If as a represented client you have these complaints, it may be time to have a sit down with your lawyer. If that doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to find other representation.

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