I had a client that walked in through our doors yesterday who for all intensive purposes was defeated. I could tell by her body language and her soft-spoken words that she was tired and sad. She went on to tell me that she had spent hours on the phone with insurance adjusters, she was aching, and she felt socially removed because the pain did not allow her to spend time with friends. In fact, most of our clients feel the same when they come into our office after a car accident, losing a job after being wrongfully terminated or worse. It is my job to make them feel better, period.
When a client leaves my office I want them to feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Their problem is our problem. I start every client consultation with “tell me your story.” Not the typical—tell me the facts of your case. I want to know about the person that I am going to be working with; I want them to know about me-the fact that I have three brothers and grew up right here in Kansas City. I want to know about their family, friends, hobbies, passions, and everything else that truly makes them want to live. One of my clients is an amazing sailor, another one started a group for single fathers right here in Kansas City, and another one has a passion for watching old movies.
So What? Why is the Relationship So Important?
So what, right? Why is it so important that a lawyer and a client have a good relationship? Don’t I just walk into your office and you do all the work?
I do the legal work, yes. However, we work together on your case and your treatment. When you walk into my office you are the expert on your case. You lived through the car accident, you lived through the episodes with your boss that wrongfully terminated you, and you can explain exactly what happened better than anyone else. That is why we are a team: I’m the legal knowledge and you are my star witness.
It’s Not Just About the Money
During my initial case consultation, I have my clients come up with a list of goals. Some of the goals pertain to the amount of money they expect to get from the litigation. However, many of the goals have nothing to do with litigation, laws, or lawyers. Here are a few of the goals my clients made with me:
• I’d like to be able to start going to movies with my friends again without hurting;
• I want to visit my nephews in California this year;
• I’d like to lose 35 lbs.; and
• I’d like to be able to host my families Christmas dinner this year.
A jury wants to reward someone who is trying to get better, someone that is trying to get back on their own two feet. A jury likes someone who is a winner—someone that gets knocked down but will pick themselves up but their bootstraps. That is why we make a list of goals, because we can show the jury that you are working hard at getting better and you aren’t just giving up or giving into what hurt you in the first place.
We are a team. We work together in order to give you the best possible outcome when you are struggling. It is my job to make you feel better, period. Working together in your litigation will make the resolution more profitable both financially and spiritually.