Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lawyers, marketing and response times

Surely you jest. Tom Collins has a good post today about law firms and response times to calls. Tom talks about how some law firms are now promising 24 response times, only to be trumped by a firm like Laner Muchin here in Chicago. Laner is an excellent labor law firm whose slogan is: "Two Hours. Period."

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I have but one question: "Why so long?" Maybe my own neuroses are coming out here. For instance, I loathe voice mail but accept it as a necessary evil. If you are paying me my hourly billing rate or flat fee (which is not cheap), unless I am (a) in a closing, on a long conference call or in a meeting of some sort, (b) on vacation or (c) halfway around the world where it is the middle of the night, I see no reason why you should have to wait even two hours to hear from me during business hours. (I'm about to solve (c), BTW, by buying a world-band Blackberry.)

The client may not get an answer to a question in that two hour period, but it is still a rare occasion that I don't at at least call or email someone to let them know I received the message and that I care. And I just don't understand people who don't follow this practice. To this day my all-time favorite voice mail from a client went something like this, "Hi, Dave, this is _____. So this is your voice mail? In the almost five years I've been working with you I can't ever remember hearing it." I'm sure that wasn't true, but it was a testament to a commandment I learned long ago and still practice, probably to a fault: be available. I won't criticize those who don't follow my rule, and I'm sure some people would laugh at my approach or tell me it is unhealthy. But it is my rule, and I'm sticking with it.


Jeff Brown said...

Amen Brother- The reasons I hear from peers are excuses for following their own agenda.

Like Dad told me: "Who pays your bills?"

'nuff said.