[00:02:49] Establish expectations early with clients, like you would in dating, with a list of do’s and donts shared at the beginning of the relationship.
[00:05:55] Set expectations for clients and manage timeframes efficiently for a smoother experience.
[00:08:02] Attorneys don’t always inform clients how long divorce processes take, often leading to client complaints and drawn-out divorce cases like those of celebrities.
[00:13:50] As a lawyer, you can’t control everything in a case, but you can manage it like weather by being prepared and adaptable.
[00:14:55] Preview of client do’s and don’ts. Check the link for more. Contact Nermmin for questions. Like, share, and comment.
Nermin Jasani [00:00:00]:
Hello and welcome, law firm owners, to another episode of the wildly successful Law Firm podcast. This is your host, Nurmin Jasani, or Nerms, if you can't say Nurmin, that's totally okay. So I am looking at my podcast notes in front of me, and I've got to do an episode on how to increase your revenue in to what you can do to run a cost efficient law firm. I'm going to be honest with you, I have no desire to talk about either of those topics. Increasing revenue and cutting donts. I feel like I have talked about that in 7000 episodes already, and I'm just over that topic. You guys know what to do. This is like losing weight.
Nermin Jasani [00:00:47]:
There is no magic pill except for maybe Ozempic. But there's literally no magic pill to growing your law firm. You just got to do it consistently. You got to show up. You got to be consistent. You got to look at your numbers. You've got to charge the right prices. You've got to market consistently and stop whining about how hard it is.
Nermin Jasani [00:01:07]:
Yes, it's fucking hard. But you know what else is hard? Not making money. You know what else is hard? Any other business area, any other profession that you choose. Everything has its problems and nothing is fucking perfect. And you have just got to do the work. Okay? You've got to be consistent. You got to show up. That doesn't mean show up on Instagram.
Nermin Jasani [00:01:30]:
That just means show up amazingly for your clients and your team. Okay? Work hard and don't expect this to happen overnight. This takes months, years. Even if you're working with me, it still takes time. So really just know that it's not a magic pill. And if you are looking for the magic pill, then you are looking for the wrong thing. So instead of talking about profitability and expenses, which I have really droned on about for months and months, I want to talk about something a little more fun. It's this thing that I created called Client do's and Don'ts.
Nermin Jasani [00:02:14]:
By the way, it's $20. So don't freak out on me saying, narmin, everything you do is so expensive. No, it's not. We're going to talk a little bit about client do's and donts and why I created this and why it helps. Okay, listen, having a client is a lot like dating in 2023. You want to make sure that you are disclosing everything, okay? You want to manage the person who you're dating. You want to manage their expectations. The same is true for your clients.
Nermin Jasani [00:02:49]:
So when you're going on a date and let's say someone that you like before you even go on that date, you're going to make it so clear, hey, I'm interested in just having fun. Or actually, I want a commitment. So if you want fun, this is not going to work and I'm not going to waste my time. You would, of course, do that in a dating situation, but for some reason, when it comes to managing your clients expectations, you don't, right? Then when it comes to dating, you're going to have a conversation, hey, is this exclusive? Like, we like each other. Are you seeing other people? Am I allowed to see other people? You're going to have that conversation of exclusivity when you're dating someone, yet for some reason, you don't have similar types of conversations with your client. So the whole point in me creating these client do's and donts is that it's a document that you can share with your clients when they start to work with you. And it's at the beginning of the relationship. By the way, this isn't like a month in.
Nermin Jasani [00:03:54]:
It's way too late if it's a month in, okay? Because they've already developed bad habits. And you can't a month in be like, oh, hey, by the way, here are my expectations for you being my client. What? That's garbage. That's pointless. That's terrible communication on your part, and it's completely ineffective. You've got to do the client do's and don'ts early on, way at the beginning, okay? Now, you're managing your clients expectations. And the expectations that you want to manage include things like managing their expectations around your response time, how available you are versus your team. I can't tell you how many attorneys tell me that their clients have yelled at staff because the attorney was not available, but staff was, whether it's an answering person, an answering team, an admin, a paralegal, an associate attorney, instead of you as the attorney who signed them on.
Nermin Jasani [00:04:58]:
I hear this a lot. And the reality is that it's your responsibility to let your clients know early on. Don't just assume that they're going to know, okay? That's not a fair assumption to make. And we all know what happens when you assume you're making an ass of yourself, okay? Not even the other person. It's just yourself. You cannot assume that they know that your staff speaks for you. And even if they don't get you, that means that they have consulted with you about the answer that the client is seeking. And a lot of this communication, when it's handled early on, the managing of these expectations will create for smoother relationships, happier clients, and happier staff.
Nermin Jasani [00:05:55]:
It has a ripple effect, okay? And I want you to be so conscious of that ripple effect, because when you do it the wrong way, everything gets messed up. But if you just take a few moments, 1015 minutes when you first sign on a new client, that's all it takes to just sit down and explain to them, these are the expectations of you being a client of this firm. It will make everything smooth sailing, okay? Something else that you might want to manage for your clients is setting reasonable expectations on time frames. Look, we know that the law is slow. We know that the law can be inefficient. However we can't expect that our clients know how slow and how long things take. Sometimes there are people who have applied for all sorts of Visas 510, 15 years ago, and they still don't have green cards. Right? They started the process.
Nermin Jasani [00:07:16]:
They got one little thing along the way, they got another little thing along the way, but they are still not with green card. And maybe they don't even have their citizenship yet, right? Maybe they got the green card and the citizenship has been taking another five or seven years. You know, that's common. But they don't know. So now you're selling them something. You're telling them how much it costs. You're collecting all of your money in the first year or two years, but meanwhile, they're still waiting another eight years until they are a legal citizen of the United States, until they have a green card status in the United States. It's on you to explain to them time frames.
Nermin Jasani [00:08:02]:
And I'm not just going to sit here and pick on immigration attorneys, okay? I will tell you that family attorneys are notorious for this as well, because they don't actually tell their clients how long the divorce process actually takes. They get hired and then all of a sudden they start seeing dollar signs because the client is calling and complaining and changes their mind every other day instead of actually sitting down and saying, hey, here are the phases of a divorce. This can take about 30 days, this can take about 60 days. Discovery can go up to six months or a year, just depending on your case and the information and how much money is involved, but that information never gets disclosed. And then when we see divorces from celebrities like Brad and Angelina and other couples taking three years and five years and eight years, who is it? Bethany Frankel. I think one of the Housewives of New York. I think her divorce has been ongoing for like five years, seven years, ten years, I don't know. Somebody can fact check me on this, but it's been going on for a long ass time.
Nermin Jasani [00:09:17]:
And I bet you her lawyer did not tell her how long this divorce process was going to take. They probably went into it thinking, oh, this is going to be fast, and then it's been years. She might have assumed maybe it'll be two years, but definitely not how long it has been so far. So I say that to say it is on you to make sure that you are communicating clear and realistic time frames. And then I know some of you are going to come back and say, well, Narmina, if I tell my clients it's going to take ten years or five years or I don't know how long it's going to take, they're never going to hire me. No, that's not true, okay? That's just not true. You have to present it in a way that they understand and they can see the wins along the way. So again if it's immigration then you can definitely say we're going to submit your application in the first three months.
Nermin Jasani [00:10:09]:
Six months. As soon as you get us the documents we're going to submit it and then about six months after that, for twelve months after that you're going to get a travel permit. Yay, like you can present it in phases with wins. Every single area of law has phases. Criminal, family, immigration, even a business contract, right? You can go from letter of intent to then purchase and sale agreement and maybe you're in 17 drafts that has taken 20 for months for a purchase and sale agreement. But that's okay because it's happening in phases. You're going through the letter of intent and then you're doing due diligence and that can usually take six months or a year depending on the size of the deal. Then you're going through the next phase of negotiation.
Nermin Jasani [00:11:02]:
So everything has phases and no one has told you to think about phases and now I'm asking you to think about phases and it's really important to explain these phases to your clients. It's called being a great lawyer and it's called effective communication with your clients. So I want you to think about everything I have said here and really think about those really difficult client situations that you've encountered. Those vampire clients who called you on Sunday and then Monday and then Tuesday and then Wednesday. And those clients who lied on their applications about having one marriage instead of really two marriages. Or the clients who decided to take the kids away for the weekend without telling the mom. Or the client who decided to buy a boat in the middle of a divorce. All of these things are situations that you have probably encountered with your clients.
Nermin Jasani [00:12:14]:
And if you had just taken a minute at the beginning and explained to them, hey, before you do something, call us. Please don't be afraid to ask us questions. Please don't do something that might get you in trouble. If you do something then we will have to spend extra time undoing what you've done. So now it's costing you more money and it's costing more time. We don't want that to happen. So just talk to us. Don't be afraid about the being billed for a ten minute conversation.
Nermin Jasani [00:12:47]:
I would rather bill you for a ten minute conversation than spend 5 hours undoing something that you did that is now maybe going to look negatively on your case. So again, client do's and don'ts. I've got a list of them. You can take the language in there and tailor it to your specific practice area but most of them are generic. You can add in additional ones based on scenarios that you have come up with. And by the way, I do have this document in front of me right now and I just am looking at maybe my favorite one that I have on this list, and it's the last client due. And it's really just a reminder that you as a lawyer cannot guarantee the outcome for your client. There are only certain things that you can do, but it's a little bit like the weather.
Nermin Jasani [00:13:50]:
There are a lot of things that you can't control, but you can bring an umbrella, you can wear a jacket, you can wear sunscreen. That's what you are being hired for. It's managing the weather. It's all of the uncontrollable events that you are helping with. And in that client due, we are just reminding people that you might think that we are God as attorneys and that we can liaise and manipulate the entire legal system because you saw it on TV. But in reality, we can't. We are responding to the weather, which is an uncontrolled event, something that we cannot predict for, just like you can't predict who the attorney is going to be on the opposing side, who the judge is going to be, what the time frames are going to be for immigration or for IRS or whatever it might be. Right? You may not be able to control any of those things, but you are the best damn weather manager that there is out there.
Nermin Jasani [00:14:55]:
And that's really just a sneak peek into the client do's. And don'ts hope that you take a look at it. It is linked below. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me and I will see you all in the next episode. Thank you so much for listening in. As always, I appreciate you. Please take a moment to like, share, comment, all that good stuff. All right, thank you.
Nermin Jasani [00:15:20]: