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Your Client Has Heard Some Negative Stereotypes About Lawyers. Here’s How You Can Disprove Them.

Let’s face it: some lawyer stereotypes that are floating around society today are not positive. When a new or prospective client first meets with you, chances are that some of these negative stereotypes have affected their expectations of your first interaction with the client.

Stereotypes that clients may have of lawyers could also lead to the client having skepticism about moving forward with your firm or cause a reluctance to share all the client’s relevant details of their situation. Understanding and helping a client move past these preconceptions could help you earn their trust – and ultimately win their loyalty.

Simply put, the best way to overcome negative lawyer stereotypes is to disprove them by the service you provide. Here are four ways you can do just that.

Be Transparent From the Start

One of the lawyer stereotypes that your client might believe is that they can’t fully trust an attorney. You can whittle away at this misconception right away by being transparent and straightforward from your very first conversation with the client.

Ask questions that help you see the whole picture of your client’s circumstances. Be honest about what they can expect if they hire you. Spell out the process and clearly describe your fee structure. If anything changes in the client’s case, do your best to update the client immediately so the client always feels like his or her case is a priority to you. Clients like to feel valued and important.

Remember this, too: your prospective client likely did some research on you before reaching out. Your online presence (website and social media) should echo the same transparency that you’ll communicate in person. Use these online platforms as an opportunity to disarm negative lawyer stereotypes before the client walks through your door and to help build trust.

Demonstrate Empathy

Being empathetic means putting yourself in another person’s shoes to understand the why behind how they are feeling. There’s a reason your client is reaching out to you for help. Maybe they’ve been thrown into a complex, emotional, high-stakes situation. Maybe they aren’t sure about the next step to take in a complex legal matter. Many times they are not in control of the circumstances of their case and they need your help to guide them through the situation.

Genuinely showing empathy can take practice especially when you are busy with many different cases. But genuine empathy also goes a long way to show your client that -- despite the lawyer stereotypes they may have heard – you care, and they can trust you.

Simplify Complexities

The law is complex and nuanced. Remember, however, that your client could have little to no experience navigating the law or the legal system. That means that the legal terminology that you are used to speaking can sound foreign to your clients. When you’re communicating with your client, avoid legal jargon whenever possible. Simplify complex terms so that your clients can fully understand what is going on and feel like you have your client’s best interest in mind.

Make the Most of Your Client’s Time

Your prospective client may be afraid to hire an attorney because they are afraid of being charged too much. In addition to being transparent about your fee structure, you can disprove this stereotype by making the most of the time you dedicate to their case. Document the time you spend diligently. View the billing process as an opportunity to account for and communicate to your client how you used your time to advocate for your client.

By the way, if you’re looking to save time and increase efficiency, you may want to look into automating your document drafting process. This can increase your quality of services for your clients and decrease both costs to you and costs to your clients. If you want to find out more on how to automate your document preparation processes, contact AccessioDocs for more information.

Excellent Service is Worth The Effort

Remember, when it comes down to it, exceptional service is likely the best way to overcome those pesky lawyer stereotypes. And it’s worth the effort. Clients who feel like they have received exceptional service from a lawyer who cares are more likely to be loyal and return for additional services. Also, loyal clients are likely to refer other clients to your firm. Referrals often make great clients and lead to a stable and healthy income stream for your law firm.

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