· Create a mailing list and keep it updated. Who goes on it? Your law school classmates, your fraternity/sorority contacts, college friends, etc.
· Take at least one person out to lunch or to an event every quarter. Write a follow-up note on note cards.
· Join a bar association.
· Send out holiday cards to your mailing list.
· Sign up to have the firm’s annual report sent to your mailing list.
· Participate in firm client functions. Encourage senior attorneys to introduce you to clients you don't know, or go ahead and introduce yourself and thank them for being our guest.
· Send out "saw this item and thought it would be of interest" mailings.
· Get involved in your community through committee or volunteer work. People you serve on a committee with should be added to your mailing list.
· Keep adding to that mailing list...accountants, bankers and clients you're working with.
· Volunteer for a bar association committee.
· Write an article for your area or practice group.
· Increase those lunches and events with your peers.
Third Year, Fourth Year, Fifth Year Associates
· Offer to host a committee meeting here at the firm for a volunteer group you're in.
· More lunches, sports, or cultural events. You should be entertaining a peer once a month.
· Join the professional trade associations or organizations in which your clients are members—the firm will help you research local chapters and events.
· Write articles on topics of interest to professionals in your industry—the Marketing Department will get them in the firm newsletter as well as place them in trade publications and general business magazines.
· Present a speech to professionals in your industry (if you wrote an article, well, hey, that's sort of a speech ready to go, isn't it? Shake the paper a little, and voila!)
· Continue involvement in bar associations—committee work, Young Lawyers activities, editorial work on the publications, volunteering to organize an educational event.
· Increase your direct contact with clients.
· Offer to be the editor of your section or area's newsletter.
· Help senior attorneys and partners at firm seminars. Offer to present a topic.
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth Year Associates
· You should be setting annual business goals. Work with your Area/Group Development Chair to fill in the appropriate number in the following statement: "I want to be responsible for bringing in $_ thousands in originating collections this year."
· Take on leadership positions in bar and trade association groups.
· Have two lunches or events with prospects, clients and referrers per month.
· Keep up community involvement—run for board positions in organizations you've joined. Make certain the firm is financially supporting at least one fundraiser, bike-a-thon, golf outing hole, young friends benefit a year that you're directly involved in.
Client Service Checklist
· Be punctual at meetings. Your client's time is incredibly valuable.
· Make a client feel as though they are the only piece of business you work on! Don't discuss how busy your other clients are keeping you, do remove your other clients' files from your desk when you meet, and never tell a client you can't get back to them/handle their question because "I'm doing work for other clients and it's a rush."
· Return phone calls promptly. This one of the largest complaints clients have of their lawyers in general. If you are so tied up that you can't return the call, have your secretary call and say "Sue will be freed up at 4:30, you are the first call she's going to return, and is there anything I can do to help in the meantime?" Setting expectations is a big part of communicating with a client—if they know when they'll hear from you, they can live with a four-hour delay—which is far preferable to feeling as though they've been ignored.
· Don't strand a client in the reception area if they are coming to meet with you and you are tied up. Have your secretary or a colleague greet them, offer them coffee, take them to a conference room, offer them the phone for calls, etc.
· Use language in general business correspondence that your client understands—they're the one that is driving the relationship, not you. Make yourself understood, and you'll be seen as "my business partner that talks my language" instead of "I'm never sure what my lawyer is talking about."
· Note, remember and USE names of your client's team—their receptionist, their secretary, their managers. Support staffers are the gatekeepers to your client, and fostering a good relationship with them can be just as important as one with the client. Who else will sneak your call in when the client is "too busy to answer the phone?"
· Take a tour of your client's facility, offices, factory or stores. Meet employees, ask questions, and become more familiar with the issues their industry faces.
· When great news like a settlement check or a signed contract that took weeks to negotiate arrives at the firm, personally drive it to your client and deliver it with a smile and a handshake.
· Is a special event coming up for your client? A new headquarters move? An anniversary? Were they named to a distinguished list or win a prestigious industry award? Mention and celebrate their success with them.
Remember, if you can't provide client service like this, your competition at another firm is glad to!