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A Brief Review of Client Development for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers

            Throughout the legal community there is no shortage of opinions people have about working for a small firm versus a larger firm. Entire law review articles have been devoted to the pros and cons of each model. Whatever side of the spectrum you find yourself on, there’s simply no denying one fact: small firms are different than big firms and that difference presents a multitude of unique considerations when practicing in a small firm.

            Robert Lesser’s Client Development for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers helps the reader understand these considerations by providing practical advice in areas that just aren’t taught in a classical law school curriculum. From general areas such as how to work with a client to prepare for trial to areas that you may not immediately think of such as how to write billing entries, Lesser gives first hand insights into how to approach these areas in a way that will both make you a better attorney and a better manager of your own practice.

            One of the key aspects of the book that struck me was Lesser’s focus on the client. One would expect a book discussing starting up a small firm practice to promote a client centered focus, obviously. However, Lesser does not simply give a stock “the client is always right” approach. Lesser is much more concerned with the lawyer’s ability to build solid and lasting relationships with clients; relationships built on trust and mutual respect. Advice that Lesser gives includes setting appropriate boundaries with clients and having firm expectations of their behavior while engaging a lawyer’s services. Other topics include the advice that lawyers maintain constant communication with their clients rather than simply work on a project with the only communication being the final deliverable and the client’s bill. Rather, Lesser advocates that a lawyer treat clients as partners in achieving goals built from reasonable expectations.

            Lesser keeps his book entertaining by including numerous personal anecdotes and nuggets of wisdom learned from a career of successes and failures. One really comes away from this book believing that the lessons can be successfully learned because someone more experienced has already done so through trial and error.

            As a final note, this book is simple to read with each chapter essentially being a short essay on a given topic. For those who have a full plate with very little time for pleasure reading, this book can be picked up at any time and read from any point, beginning, middle, or end.

            Overall, Lesser’s book presents great material for lawyers, especially young lawyers building their practice, to integrate into their firm processes and systems. Much of this material can be used to create habits that will help build solid foundations in any burgeoning law firm.

            The above article is for general information purposes only and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice. This article, or contacting Apex, does not in any way form an attorney-client relationship. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Jacob Ferrari at jacob@apexlg.com.

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