My father owned a drug store. I used to work at the front register when I was just a child. When a customer approached staff with a question, we were trained to say, “How can I help you?” As an attorney, I believe this is still the best question to ask a potential new client.
Clients are unique, as are their businesses, as are their legal problems. The very first step in creating a positive attorney client relationship, and in laying the groundwork for success, is finding out what would be a successful result for the client. “How can I help you?”
Once I know “how I can help” the client, we can begin the very important process of developing a strategy and a budget. It is also important to determine from the outset whether the client’s expectations are realistically attainable. If they are not, then we need to either adjust them, or else I will generally refer the client to another experienced attorney. Litigation is art, not science, and two skilled attorneys may approach the same problem with two entirely different, yet sound, strategies. What is key is that you are attempting to provide the result the client wants, being responsive to the client’s needs, and choosing the best strategic path for the goals outlined by the client.