Will the legal profession survive as it is?

Larry Bodine suggests that law firms that survive today’s economic crisis will:

  • Have “customers” not “clients.”
  • Offer flat fees per project or per procedure.
  • Have rates that are markedly lower than in 2008.
  • Will routinely produce budgets for all legal work.
  • Be run like real businesses, which know their costs, can calculate a profit margin, and offer customers “just in time” services at the best price possible.
  • Realize that customers are fickle and expect personalized service.
  • Have lawyers that fly coach and stay at cheap hotels near the client’s offices, instead of the Four Seasons 5 miles away.
  • Have lawyers that know their clients business, their goals, strategies and objectives, and work to help the client make more money or cut their costs.

I have been talking about the difference between clients and customers and patients and customers for a long time. I’m glad that Larry’s first point on his list is the same.  Why should this be so important? Because not all of us are clients; we all are customers. Therefore, we can relate. There was a hit movie years ago where a mean doctor was a patient. Only after his experience did he have more compassion for patients and changed his ways. Today, medical schools are required to teach doctor-patient relations.  When will law schools do the same?


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