August 6, 2008

As a practicing attorney and as Chair of the Management Committee at Much Shelist, I am committed to the creation of positive, mutually beneficial client relationships throughout the firm. That's why, in preparation for a recent partners' retreat, we invited business consultant Steve Yastrow to help us better understand how we can develop and maintain such valuable and rewarding relationships—and why we asked him to share some of his ideas with our clients and friends in this issue of The Business & Legal Quarterly (see our Q&A with Steve).

How do you know when you've created an ideal client relationship? The truth is, relationships are always evolving, changing and (hopefully) improving. I always know we've come close to reaching this important goal when a client begins calling us at the first sign of trouble and at the first sign of success. But if you find yourself thinking that you've achieved a perfect relationship with one of your clients, then take note: it's time to refocus and renew your efforts.

It's also important to be realistic about your relationships. You only have so many hours in the day and, like anyone, you will need to make certain choices and determine priorities with respect to your clients' needs and your own capabilities.
Likewise, some of your clients and customers may not want this type of intense, mutually reinforcing business relationship. They may prefer that you simply get in, get the job done well (whatever it may be) and move on to the next challenge.

And that's just fine. By listening and responding to each client's specific requirements —whatever they may be and however they may change—you are, in fact, still creating an ideal relationship.

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.