This is a real quote, uttered by a legal secretary in a large New York City municipal office many years ago. She was given to unexpected moments of brilliance, and kept an overworked and understaffed team of 30 attorneys in line, so no one was offended. If they were, they kept it to themselves. The office laughed about it, and she heard it repeated many times over the course of her long career.
In one sense, it’s true. We treat other attorneys in a different manner than we do people who are not attorneys. Our paralegals know there is a difference. Even when another attorney calls your office in a fighting mood, your default response is to be calm and professional. There is some deference paid to colleagues.
When clients and prospects pick up the phone or send an email, estate planning and elder lawyers and their paralegals need to remember that you are getting a phone call from a person who has a problem that they need you to solve. They may never have spoken with an attorney before, or they may have only spoken with an attorney during times of great stress.
You can do something before they even get to your office to assuage their fears and make them more comfortable. Give them an opportunity to see you as a lawyer AND a person. Here’s how:
Get out of your office and into the public eye. If you are not already involved with your community’s senior centers, office of the aging or whatever kind of senior services organizations exist in your community, you are missing opportunities for people to get to meet you and see you as a person.
Get to know local media. Whether you are in a one-traffic light town or a busy city, there are journalists writing about issues that concern estate planning. You can get to know them via social media, send them ideas for articles or, best of all, keep them up-to-date with changes in the law that impact your clients. They are always on the look-out for news and good sources.
Create a lawyer video with our team. Doing so gives visitors to your website an opportunity to meet the real you, talking about what matters to you and why you are in this area of the law.
Here’s an adage we like: we do business with people we know, like and trust.
If you don’t have time to get out into the public, and don’t want to take the time to speak with the media, a video will give prospects a chance to “meet” you. And once the video is done, there’s no limit to the number of people who will see you, the real you, as they do their research to find an estate planning attorney who can help them.