Years ago, I attended a conference for lawyers in Amelia Island, Florida. The location was spectacular but there were mosquitoes galore. The glorious brochures beckoning me to come to this paradise location never mentioned these bugs, or how much they would enjoy my blood. (I thought, is this how our clients feel about us lawyers? I’ll come back to this question in a future blog post.)
Unfortunately, I did not have a car and the hotel did not sell bug repellent. So I was stuck in Paradise, indoors. Had someone been honest with me and WARNED me about the mosquitoes, I would have been fully prepared with mosquito repellent and enjoyed my time immensely.
Well, during that conference, there was a panel discussion with 3 hugely successful business owners. The business owners were speaking to us lawyers on what they look for and expect from their lawyers. The following quote continues to resonate to this day.
“I demand my lawyer tell me what I need to know, not what I want to hear.”
Wow! So there it is. Smart successful clients want lawyers to give them the bad news. “Tell it straight. Tell me up front. Tell me what I need to know.”
If you are the client, make sure you tell this to your lawyer up front. It will save you a tremendous amount of wasted time and money and will help you avoid bad results. If you are the lawyer, tell your client up front that this is your approach. If they don’t like it, get rid of them as a client. A client who insists on keeping their head in the sand is a bad client. In the end, when their fantasy expectations come crashing down, they’ll blame you. Then what?
On a closing note, if you visit the beautiful Amelia Island Resort in May (or any month to be safe), make sure you bring insect repellent!