When I first practiced law, it was as if I had no clients. Law school had equipped me with the technical aspects of being a lawyer – to deal with legal issues and attempt to resolve them – and I fervently employed these skills to each case I was given. However, I gave little regard to the very real people whose cases I was taking on. Like a doctor who, with good intentions, becomes obsessed with treating a tumor and forgets about the patient fighting cancer, I had become obsessed with the legal issues and neglected to work on my bedside manner.
This cold and analytic beginning as a lawyer is not something I am proud of. Too slowly and too sporadically, I began to recognize the special place that attorneys occupy. A person comes and seeks legal advice. But that person may have unique and unspoken concerns and worries that also need to be unearthed, considered and addressed.
Recently a client left the following review: “Ray, let me take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your professional advice and personal support to me during this ordeal. I recall meeting with you a few years back to prepare our wills, you again displayed the people side of building trust first and then moving into the legal arena. As a Change Management/Leadership Consultant having worked with companies both stateside and abroad, I realized that success is due to building relationships through trust first. That is, the ability to listen, understand and provide direction….you are the best. Thanks again, Dale.”
I would never have received such a review ten years ago. I am glad that I received it, but wish I had deserved it earlier. If you retain me as your attorney, I hope to earn your trust and this same level of appreciation.