Diary of a Diploma Student Through the eyes of a Client–
Douglas Mill the Director of Professional Practice at the University of Glasgow told a story this week of a lady whom he had known for many years visiting him in a legal capacity as a client for the first time and how nervous she was.
She was so nervous at attending a solicitor’s office for the first time that it made her forget details that she would normally roll of the tip of her tongue.
It made me think carefully about the role that a solicitor plays in society.
As a soon-to-be solicitor I was reminded by this anecdote , that in a subtle way that the legal profession should always be marketing in a different way from other market sectors.
It reminded me that the ‘user’ of our services are not looking for a consumer purchase.
It’s never an impulse buy.
They never find themselves wandering down the High street having had a latte and hazelnut in Starbuck s and think ‘where shall I go next, Primark or Lawfirm Exratrodinare & co?’
Most legal transactions happen when ‘something goes wrong’ and for clients ( yes they are clients rather than customers) the trust they place in their solicitor is of a value which seems to be lost in the marketing mix.
How a client chooses which solicitor to instruct depends on many factors and whilst cost is a factor in many cases it’s not the ‘only factor’.
Reputation is invaluable to a solicitor as referrals within the profession and between customers are important. A key business strategy and one used by businesses around the world never fails. Do a good job and your client will not only come back to you but will tell his friends.
This anecdote that Douglas Mill told to us new lawyers re-inforced exactly how I felt when as a nervous client in a crisis situation I consulted a solicitor 9 years ago for a very traumatic event.
What was I looking for : a big plush office, a sharp suit, a nondescript Ali McBeal with a corporate image and personality to match? No, it is really quite simple.
I was looking for
A Human being.
Someone who would really listen to what I was trying to articulate.
Who could independently analyse my set of circumstances, give me really good advice,
Guide me ( As I knew nothing of the law)
Fight my corner.
Communicate with me at all stages
Do what they said they were going to do.Did cost come into it?
If I am honest no.
Had another firm offered me a cheaper version would I have changed , NO.
That is because what I was paying for was not just an off the shelf product.
I was paying for the ‘whole package’.
Nine years ago I was in turmoil and I found ‘ that lawyer’
Whilst I travel now through the journey of the Diploma in Legal Practice I encounter Academics, practicing solicitors, Advocates and Judges and the help they offer me is invaluable, but it was ‘ that lawyer’ who shone as a brilliant example of the legal profession and indeed part of the reason I took that first step many years ago to study law and become a lawyer.
What ‘she’ gave me in that office on that day I will never forget and It is exactly what I hope I can offer to my clients when I qualify – Dignity, Compassion and Ultimate Professionalism.
The moral of this Blawg is that the Legal Profession is ‘Unique’ and its actions effect ‘REAL’ people.
Thats why I will always try to ‘keep it real’ and be a face, a person and most of all a Human Being.
Its one of the reasons why I tweet and Blawg.
The Diploma in Legal Practice is helping me to merge my academic studies with ‘Real Life’ and for that they should be commended.
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