Take it from someone who is an expert at looking stupid and who makes more mistakes than you can shake a stick at.
It's true! Lawyers don't like looking stupid. Rob Flint (full disclosure - formerly a Partner with us) is spot on with his 5 points about lawyers. He's also right when he says much is written for, or by, lawyers about how to deal with clients. Very little is ever written to help clients in how to deal with lawyers. Actually helping clients to get the best from their lawyers is a very good idea - just like we don't teach our kids about money or pensions or mortgages at school - we also don't tell them about lawyers, the law and how it affects their lives or how to deal with a lawyer...
So when approaching the question of how might a client deal with a lawyer. I start with the similarities they share. They are each a flawed human. Each good at some things and not others. Oh and...each needs the other.
I write often about the fact that lawyers are humans too. Yes, they have a technical skill set - for some even a vocation, but outside work they are just like everyone else. They have the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" in the rollercoaster of life. They are good at some things (hopefully applying the law to problems) and not so good at others (in some cases like running a business or getting their billing done). So adopting an approach that plays to strengths and embraces and understands skills gaps or weaknesses will serve lawyers and clients well. Instead of one playing the role of lawyer and the other client - how about two people trying to solve a problem together.
I'm looking forward to Rob's next post which you'll be able to find here: Adviserly Opinion in a week.
And just for the record - we all think Rob's plan to create a network of great advisers in smaller firms around the globe is a cracking idea! So we're pretty confident Rob won't look stupid anytime soon!
There is clearly something of a misunderstanding between lawyers and clients. A lot of articles are written by lawyers about ‘how to understand the client’, to show how business-savvy and client friendly they are. A little less is written about how to understand where lawyers are coming from.