In choosing which law firm to engage for your transactional matter, one threshold determination to make is whether to use a large or small firm, or something in between. Needless to say, I’m not disinterested on this point. The way I market my firm to potential clients inevitably portrays larger firms as not worth the cost – at least with respect to the types of matters I handle. But I spent most of my career in big firms, and there are absolutely transactions that lend themselves to the resources that a “name” firm can bring to the table.
In my post on emailing vs. phone calls, which laid out some advantages of communicating by email, I didn’t address one thing that many people hate about email, which is that it can at times seem impossible to keep up with the volume of incoming messages. Unfortunately from an attorney’s perspective, if you miss a deadline because you lose track of an email, it won’t fly to complain to your client that you get 500 (or whatever) emails a day. Regardless of whether law school lasts for three years or two, as President Obama would have it, there is little to no attention paid there to such mundane issues as email management, though this ends up being crucial to being a reliable attorney, which is a prerequisite to being a successful attorney. [Read more…]
A near-constant theme in my interactions with clients and other attorneys is the relative merits of various modes of communication — email, phone or in-person meetings. After a long email chain, someone will get frustrated and say, “Why don’t we just get on the phone and figure this out?” But those same people will, on another occasion, dial into a conference call, quickly get bored, and hone their skills at computer Solitaire.
The best attorney mentors I had in my early years of practice emphasized that law is a service business. Attending to the basics like responding promptly to emails and calls is at least as important, to this way of thinking, as being able to come up with an ingeniously complicated transaction structure. While I therefore have a “the customer is always right” orientation, I’d be lying if I said that it doesn’t matter whether the client was similarly responsive, organized, etc. With that in mind, here are a few tips for how clients can make the attorney-client relationship run smoothly:
Welcome to the inaugural entry in my new corporate and securities law and transactions blog. The focus of this blog will NOT be a place to find exhaustive summaries of the latest SEC rule proposal or decision of the Delaware Chancery Court. That sort of thing is covered effectively by my former brethren (and sistren) at large firms and by other legal blogs. I will link to such summaries that I think readers will find useful. Rather, my goal here is to provide attorneys, along with business people and other non-attorneys who work on transactions, some practical tips and thoughts on issues that I frequently come across in my practice. I will aspire to write in what the SEC calls plain English, though you can rest assured that it will not be a good beach read.