Estate planning attorneys and their clients have a funny relationship with death. There’s an unspoken understanding that death is why clients are in the estate planning law firm’s office. At the same time, there’s a tacit agreement not going to talk about death in an emotional or spiritual manner.
Isn’t that like going to a doctor and not talking about a serious illness?
This is another reason why a client care program gives estate planning attorneys the opportunity to serve their clients in a more meaningful way. If all an estate planning law firm does is spit out documents, there’s no need for a client to fully engage with the attorney, the paralegal or the support team. In that case, they may as well go for an online estate plan. And for better or worse, that is what many people are doing today.
But that’s not what happens when a client care program is in place. We know from our own experience and from the increasing number of law firms who attend the Client Care Academy and have implemented these programs.
A client care program creates a new paradigm for both the client and the estate planning lawyer. That’s why law firms who are transforming into client care-based practices are seeing their relationship with their clients take on more depth and more meaning.
The focus taught in the Foundations Workshop is not on increasing the number of files a law firm has, but increasing the quality and the number of client families the law firm has. It makes sense after considering exactly what it is that estate planning attorneys do: we are preparing the family for what will happen when the client dies.
That means when their lives are upended, the one part of their lives they don’t have to worry about are those things that are covered by their estate plan. The implied trust, holistic plan that does not leave anything out and personal relationship with the lawyer and the firm come into the forefront at that time.
They say that emergency responders meet people during the worst periods of their lives, and are witness to the different ways people react – some with grace and humor, others with fear and anger. The same holds true for estate planning lawyers. We are preparing to help people for one of the more difficult experiences for their loved ones. We have a better chance of succeeding when the relationship is based on more than documents.
Are you ready to make your relationships with clients more meaningful, more comprehensive and, a nice side benefit, more profitable?
There are a few different ways for you to explore this concept. One you can do at your leisure: the development of the Client Care Academy and my firm’s client care program: “How an Ordinary Lawyer Creates and Sustains an Extraordinary Client Care Program.”
Another is to attend the Foundations Workshop, March 28 – Friday, March 29 in Orlando, Florida. Click here for details and to register.
Or, if you have a lot of people and you’re ready to move forward, it may make more sense for your firm to schedule a private retreat. For details, call or email Megan Davitt, Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.