How Do Clients and Attorneys Think Differently?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™

How Do Clients and Attorneys Think Differently?
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It’s no secret that clients and attorneys come from different worlds. While an attorney undergoes years of education and training in a highly specialized field, the average client will likely never need to dip a toe into the legal industry—at least not until they find themself in an extenuating circumstance in need of legal aid. Unsurprisingly, this difference in experience can lead to a significant disconnect in the ways attorneys and clients think and communicate, especially when trying to collaborate on a common issue. It is particularly important for attorneys to understand the way their clients think, both in an effort to serve them most effectively as well as to employ effective marketing strategies.

Pay attention to wording.

In both conversation and the written word, it’s particularly important to pay attention to word choice. Words and phrases that may be common in the legal industry can sound like another language entirely to other people. In some cases such as voir dire and in loco parentis, it actually is another language. It’s important to pay attention to the type of language you use both in client phone calls, meetings, and emails, as well as in the web content you produce. Landing pages, attorney bios, blogs, articles, and even social media content should all be constructed using wording that a client is familiar with. For example, a client is more likely to recognize the phrase “defective product” than “product liability”, or “insurance claim denial” rather than “insurance bad faith”.

A client has unique priorities that deserve attention.

While both the client and their attorney likely share one big priority (i.e. the success of the case), the client will also have other priorities it’s important for an attorney to keep in mind. Some of the biggest concerns a client or potential client will have when seeking legal representation is price, timeline, and how an attorney compares to others in their field. This is why it’s imperative to address these concerns both on a law firm’s website and in any potential marketing content.

  • Price should be an easy concern to address, and while it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the front page of a law firm’s website, it should be easy to find. This is also information an attorney might want to volunteer in the initial consultation to cater to the client’s sense of comfort and to build trust.
  • Timeline is a difficult one to address, since the time it takes to resolve any particular case can vary widely. If there is a standard timeline you can point to as a reference for a particular type of case, this might give your client an idea of what to expect. However, if the timeline for a particular type of case to resolve is too unpredictable, it’s a good idea to instead discuss the various legal deadlines involved both for themself and the other party in relation to the case.
  • As for how an attorney compares to others in the field, this is where an attorney will need to engage their creativity. Attorney videos, blogs, and even social media posts are ways for an attorney to demonstrate their authority on a given subject, as well as to tailor the image of themselves they present to a world of potential clients. Any marketing effort that could help an attorney stand out and highlight their unique offerings is worth looking into. The legal industry is broad, and a potential client likely has many choices. There’s no shame in using your experience in the field and industry knowledge to do a little consumer wooing. It should also be noted that most clients will likely be used to relying on a review or rating system to help them decide what product to purchase, and may look for similar guidance when searching for an attorney. Providing positive testimonials and reviews from past clients is a good way to stand out amongst the ocean of attorneys your client is looking to choose from.

To learn more about the differences in client versus attorney thinking, or for help designing a marketing plan tailoring to your clients’ understanding and priorities, reach out to AskTheLawyers™.

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