With 18 years experience as a California attorney (15 years doing estate planning and business planning), I’ve concluded that what clients want and need more than anything else from their law firm is follow-up and proactive guidance. Almost all law firms rely on the client to initiate. That’s the standard in the legal industry – client calls attorney when client has a problem. Is this an outdated model?
The problem with that model is in many instances, especially estate planning and small business, clients don’t know they need help until its too late. They don’t know the tax laws have changed requiring updates to their living trust or will. They don’t get around to calling their attorney (if they can even call one without ringing up billable hours) to change the guardians and trustees. They don’t know they need to update their corporate minutes. They don’t know they need a buy-sell agreement funded with life insurance to protect their family. They don’t know they should set up an asset protection plan for the future day a lawsuit hits.
Wouldn’t a better model be one where the attorney initiates contact with the client and does a periodic review to make sure the client’s living trust, will, corporation, LLC and business contracts are always up to date?
Could a long term relationship with a proactive attorney be more valuable than simply placing orders for documents?