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Client Service Marketing for Legal Firms

Screw you, our lawyers don’t work weekends.

I think I found the nation’s least service oriented law firm.

Over the years, we’ve done a lot of marketing and branding work with law, accounting, and other professional-services firms that wanted to use marketing to leverage their extraordinary client service. 

This firm below isn’t one of them.  

First, I sincerely understand that divorce clients can be needy.

I handled a couple divorces in my early days as a litigator, and learned that they can be extraordinarily  difficult clients.  Divorce lawyers catch good people at the worst times of their lives. This type of legal work clearly wasn’t for me — I don’t have the patient temperament to deal with their dramas and traumas. I preferred representing CEOs who were arguing about money and would make strategic business decisions based on facts, not emotion.

If you’re suited for divorce and family law, good for you; it’s important work. But if you’re not, perhaps find another line of work.

In an era where firms regularly vow to go the extra mile for clients, this (now defunct) family law firm feels like they wouldn’t even hold the door for their pathetic clients as they walked into court. (Screw you, it’s not my fault your spouse is cheating on you.)

Sample

The website simply reeked of “I hate my weak, needy clients.”

It lacks empathy for the stress they’re going through.  I could feel a seething resentment in their “Client Expectations” section, which detailed the many, many things their clients should do to avoid pissing them off so damn much.  Even the “(Realistic or Unrealistic)” subhead is dismissive.

Headline

These are their basic “client-expectation” messages — and how they felt to me: 

  • Don’t bother me with your stupid little problems after hours or on weekends.

  • I have a life which is more important than you or your petty problems; we don’t check our voicemail or look at email on weekends.

  • Heck, we don’t even work on Friday afternoons. We’re a Quality of Life firm. (MY life. Yours already sucks.)

  • Stop being such assholes.

  • Stop annoying me with your damn questions. I’ll get to you when I get to you.

  • Hell no, I’m not giving you my cell phone number.

  • Don’t complain about our mistakes or typos. Shut up and deal with it.

  • Leave me one damn phone message, and I’ll return your damn call in a day or two, whenever I can damn well get around to it; I’m busy.

  • Don’t you dare stop by without an appointment.

  • We don’t mean what we say in our official court pleadings.

  • Being nice won’t help.

  • Don’t tell me what your idiot friends or Google said.

  • The case will take as long as it damn well takes. Suck it up.

  • Don’t be such a jerk with your kids.

Here’s the same list with actual screenshot clips from the website that shows the original language. The original pages I pulled them from are at the bottom:

Don’t bother me with your stupid little problems after hours or on weekends.

Disclaimer

I have a life which is more important than you or your petty problems; we don’t check our voicemail or look at email on weekends.  (If you have an abusive spouse or a missing child, we’ll talk about it on Monday. Maybe Tuesday. Whenever I can get around to it.)

Weekend Policy

Heck, we don’t even work on Friday afternoons. We’re a Quality of Life firm. (MY life. Yours already sucks.)

Response Time

Stop being such assholes.

Perfection, Expectations

Stop annoying me with your damn questions. I’ll get to you when I get to you.

Phonecall Policy

Hell no, I’m not giving you my cell phone number. Your emergencies aren’t my emergencies.

Emergency Policy

Don’t complain about our mistakes or typos. Shut up and deal with it.

Complaints

Leave me one damn phone message, and I’ll return your damn call in a day or two, whenever I can damn well get around to it; I’m busy.

Leaving Messages

Don’t you dare stop by without an appointment.

Appointment

We don’t mean what we say in our official court pleadings.

Legal Pleading

Being nice won’t help.

Nice

Don’t tell me what your idiot friends or Google said.

Google Research

The case will take as long as it damn well takes. Suck it up.

Case Length

Don’t be such a jerk with your kids.

Children, Property

Yes, divorce lawyers have overwrought clients with boundary issues.

It was the hostile tone of the writing that bothered me.  It was the lack of empathy and the implication that the lawyer’s quality of life is more important than the clients’ and their potential distress.  They sounded tired and fed up, like it was long past time for a career change.

Fortunately, that seems to have occurred. The name partner is now a family court judge — where I suspect that she doesn’t work Friday afternoons or weekends.

Client-Service Marketing Tip:

No one will believe you if you claim to be service oriented.

If you want to use service as your brand, you must go to great lengths to prove it. That means you need both (1) a specific, written promise, and (2) a painful repercussion if you fail to meet that standard.  Without both of those, it’s just another hollow claim, mere puffery.

© 2017 Fishman Marketing

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About this Author

Ross Fishman, CEO, Fishman Marketing
CEO

Fishman Marketing develops the legal profession's most-effective brands and websites. Called “one of the leading experts on law firm marketing” by Lawyers Weekly, Ross helps firms dominate their markets and generate revenue. FM has designed 200+ marketing campaigns and taught 10,000 lawyers worldwide how to generate new business.

A former litigator and marketing partner, Ross has written 250 articles and received countless marketing awards, including the Legal Marketing Association’s “Best of Show” grand prize five times. A Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management, Ross was...

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