I have now been practicing law for almost 35 years and it is hard to believe how fast the years have flown by. I have recently attempted to change my approach to the practice a bit. I have always been driven to build a successful practice and accomplish my client’s goals, but I have recently concluded that I may not have considered some important considerations. As a lawyer and small business owner, I have set my sights on being busy and building what I thought was the ideal practice, but in some respects I was leaving out a crucial aspect. While my intentions were good, my idea of what I should be building was not entirely correct.
After 35 years, it became apparent to me that merely focusing on an end result was neither ideal for me nor my clients.
Throughout the years I have been very happy with my practice and my amazing clients, but I have realized that I was not taking time to view the whole picture for them. Ronald Dworkin an American legal scholar observed that the law must be predicated and interpreted consistent with communal moral principals such as justice and fairness. While his theory was more focused on judicial decisions, it has become apparent to me that similar considerations are important for attorneys to weight with their clients rather than the more limited approach of achieving certain objectives.
Of course, attempting to put my client’s case in perspective will vary from client to client. Principals such as justice and fairness may be important to some while others may gain additional comfort and benefit from various other aspects including personal priorities such as peace of mind.
As the years have passed, many clients, as well as good friends of mine, have experienced many problems including both health and emotional. This, in part, has helped put in perspective what I’ve known, but not acted upon, which is the need to realign the focus of my practice for both my client’s benefit and for my benefit as well.
My practice has been more focused on the end point of a case rather than giving more focus to my client as a whole person. I’ve began to reassess what I really wanted to do with my practice and how I could enliven and reinvigorate it to encompass more than end results. I wanted to really look at what would make clients happy and those things which would not. I have now prioritized my time looking at how I can improve my approach to each client.
As a result, I’ve incorporated some small changes as well as some major changes in the manner that I practiced law and have never looked back. The effort to focus on the whole client has not only resulted in small changes in the manner which I deal with my clients, but has also served to provide me with a better perspective on myself. An unintended result is that I found that I now take better care of myself, take more time to relax, and appreciate the simple things around me and as a result of this re-evaluation of my practice, I now have resolved to provide more focus on the entire client rather than solely on legal strategies and outcomes.
I would most appreciate the help of any who have been through the legal process. I know the law and I know how to advocate for a client, but I need to know what is most important in the process of a legal case and what motivates the client. I want to address the optimal well-being in my clients and ask what would help them more effectively as they proceed through the maze of a legal proceeding. My goal is not simply to win a case but how to help clients going through such a difficult process. I would appreciate suggestions on what qualities and attributes you would want to see in an attorney as you go through a legal process which goes beyond outcome based thinking and examines the more effective manner that law is practiced by me with my clients.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to any suggestions or responses which you may have.