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Saturday, December 30, 2006

What Lawyers Appreciate...

Julie Fleming-Brown and Stephanie West Allen have a bit of a meme going in the blawgosphere (and far be it for me to let a meme go un-participated-in). They've asked us to offer "any kind of content at all" on the subject of what lawyers appreciate.

Lots of people have talked about how much and in what ways lawyers appreciate clients. This is the first year in a long time I have not been affiliated with a large law firm at the close of the year, but memory still serves enough to note that lawyers at such firms in particular appreciate clients who bring their outstanding accounts current by year end. By and large there's enormous pressure (translating to various strong-arm tactics, both inside law firms and outward to clients) to make that happen.

Me? I've never been able to discern why December 31 was should be a day any more magical for collection purposes than any other day of the year. And moving away from how much we appreciate our clients (whenever and however they compensate us), I think lawyers who *are* with firms appreciate the ones that recognize a person has yet to emerge from law school with the goal of subordinating their existence to that of a firm. (A client? of course, and frequently; but not a firm.) Today's law firms face a considerable challenge, because there is no such thing as a typical lawyer, and no cookie cutter answer as to what those in the profession will consider worthwhile and fulfilling over the long haul. The only way of meeting that challenge is by offering a lot of options — something clients, incidentally, appreciate as well.

Though there's not much time to get in under the December 31 deadline appointed by the mistresses of this particular meme, I'd certainly enjoy hearing what Howard Bashman, Ruth Edlund, and The Anonymous Lawyer have to say on the subject.

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