Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Our Relationship Sours

For those of you who wondered how my situation turned out with the legal counsel in Phoenix, I thought I would share some of the highlights before I jump into ‘hard-line’ collections talk.

When I left off, I had sent the attorney an email requesting a meeting to discuss where I was and how we could resolve this issue. After asking to meet during his/her off-time/non-billable time, he/she basically through it back in my face.


I am not sure if I set the appointment or my secretary set the appointment. However, we are usually very clear about the charge for consultations with our office. We have very few categories of cases where we don’t charge and yours was not in that category so I would be surprised that you were not told.

It sound like you will not being paying the bill. Best of luck in the future.

Sincerely yours,

There it is, in the matter of a few words the attorney told me ‘what-for’. It was basically said, neither the firm’s appointment team nor the attorney could not have made the mistake. The firm was right and I was wrong and that was it! However, in closing, the attorney admits fault and nullifies the billing; yet, has no desire to build a relationship.

As I sit here thinking about the entire thing, I feel cheapened by the experience. I met with the attorney because of a pressing issue, I was allowed to vent. We spoke, briefly, and I was told to come back with the situation materialized. The situation never gelled, and therefore I didn’t return. To this day, I feel the meeting was worth something, but not $250.00! I shouldn’t feel bad, but I do. Probably because of the severed relationship, probably because the attorney could have better client relationships – I am not sure. I am left wondering how many relationships are shunned upon by this firm.

However, this event is one of those that I must label as classical. It is classical in that it has been well documented by many. I refer to it as the FAR syndrome, ‘Fire, Aim Ready’. I, as the attorney, am so excited about the work that I don’t take the time to: Listen to the client, understand their needs, act in accordance with their needs, and foster a strong relationship. Instead, I begin working the engagement only to find that engagement isn’t isolated – its origin is with another human being.

Regardless of your vocation, you are there to serve and be served by people, whether directly or indirectly. The secret is to work with people to get what you need, while helping them get what they need. This situation reminds me of something Ed Poll says in his book “Collecting your Fee”.

“The client is not a necessary evil in the legal process. The client is the font of all you hope to achieve in your career. Without the client there are no court actions, no matters, and no victories… and no revenue”

Until next time, do good work, docket good time, bill good time, collect good time, and foster great relationships !

No comments: