So many of us make the mistake of thinking we’re in the “Estate Planning Legal Business.” While we practice estate law, defining ourselves in this way is a mistake, because our actions flow from the way we define ourselves.
When you’re in the “Estate Planning Legal Business,” you tend to judge your practice and your worth solely by how legally competent you are. Therefore, you spend the bulk of your time staying up on the law, attending CLE classes and reading the latest IRS opinions. You educate your clients in fine detail on all the best ways to set up an estate and keep all your client communications focused on technical estate and tax matters.
While it is necessary and good to maintain technical proficiency, spending all – or even most – of your working hours focused on this means that you are not recognizing the true nature of your legal practice. The truth is we’re not in the “Estate Planning Legal Business.” We’re actually in the Communication, Information, and Relationship Business.
Did you know that one of the biggest misconceptions held by lawyers is that our clients know whether our technical legal skills are excellent or merely average? While it’s important to maintain and improve our skills, non-lawyers assume we’re all about the same skills-wise. What clients are looking for is a relationship with someone they know and trust.
How much of your practice is focused on creating lasting relationships with your clients? On communicating regularly with them? What will bring in new clients and keep existing clients loyal is not your technical expertise, but things like being greeted by name when they step into your office, or knowing that you care enough to ask about their family, or a thousand other personal touches that only you and your staff could add to their experience with your firm.
President & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Rd., Ste. 240
San Diego, CA 92124