Managing Client Relationships While Transitioning to a Remote Legal Practice and Moving Forward in a Crisis: A Positive Perspective
Maureen McMahon (Manager, Program Administrator-New York) co-authored this article.
The foundation for a solid relationship with clients must include trust, loyalty and an open line of communication that is direct and continuous. As with any long-term relationship, understanding what is important to a client and their business is the key to forecasting trends and issues that may impact clients’ business risk and operations, no matter how remote. When communicating with a client, counsel should focus on empathy rather than self-opportunity. This undoubtedly will shape the impenetrable elements of trust and loyalty that are critical to preserving and managing any client relationship.
Every client’s business is unique and, as such, every client relationship requires independent focus on what is important to that client. In other words, customization of counseling and services is key to meeting and exceeding the client’s specific business needs. To accomplish such a goal, our own legal services business must be flexible to address each client’s need in any environment and at a moment’s notice. Immediate responsiveness and an ability to mobilize resources instantly with a high level of efficiency and individual attention can be achieved when counsel has a deep understanding of its client’s business.
When a client is challenged, whether by litigation, regulation, accident, damage or any other business crisis, Wilson Elser and its teams of specialized counsel are ready and available to take whatever prudent action is necessary at a moment’s notice – nationally across its regional offices and globally along with its Legalign Global alliance partners.
In the face of COVID-19, the legal profession finds itself in the unique position of simultaneously dealing with many of the same challenges as its clients. In addition to existing matters, understanding our clients’ business enables us to efficiently and effectively manage our client relationships and their rapidly changing needs as well as our own. As executive orders and the mandates of local health organizations, unions, trades and so many other agencies have brought more challenges to client business operations than any court decisions or legislation, clients are calling on us more than ever for sound counsel and advice.
As we face the global crisis along with our clients, transitioning teams of attorneys to remote practice scenarios was a first step in providing seamless continuity in client relationship needs and legal services. In this regard, we would be remiss if we did not recognize the dedication and skill of our own business support staff and management. Client relationship management requires intense focus on what is important to an individual client navigating the challenges of the present crisis. Client support managers must be dedicated to ensuring compliance with client guidelines, efficiencies in the attorneys’ delivery of legal services, careful monitoring and continuous communications between attorneys and clients.