The success of the November 2018 Foundations Workshop was a great way for the Client Care Academy to wrap up a terrific year that saw a lot of growth and expansion.
This last Foundations Workshop of 2018 was a great group of law firms and team members from across the country who were ready to change how they practice estate planning and elder law.
In case you’re curious, the law firms came from Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington in North Carolina; Boston, Braintree and Southborough in Massachusetts; Port St. Lucie, Florida, Long Beach, California and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Some firms brought as many as seven team members. We had partners, office managers, marketing directors and paralegals.
We do require team members to accompany attorneys when they attend the Foundations Workshop. The importance of paralegals, office managers and administrative team members to shift your estate planning and elder law practice to a client care program cannot be underestimated. Often, they are the ones who grasp the concept before the attorneys and are more confident about sharing it with clients.
The Client Care Academy took some time to develop. We devoted more than two decades to getting us where we are today, creating the materials and processes that are now being used in law firms across the country. We know how to teach attorneys and team members. The training is effective, and it works best in person.
The first concept we teach is that a client care program is the right thing to do because it is how you and your firm can take the best possible care of your clients and their families.
The second concept is that no one should work for free. It’s something attorneys do too often.
There’s a story about an engineer who is paid $150,000 to solve a complex problem for an aerospace manufacturer’s $2 billion jet fighter. He reviews the blueprints and design specs and realized in a few minutes that the problem can be solved with the addition of a second set of bolts in two strategic locations. The manufacturer gripes about paying the fee. The engineer patiently explains this is not a fee for four bolts, but the cost for access to his years of experience, training and knowledge that was needed to fix the problem. It was certainly worth $150,000 to prevent a $2 billion jet fighter from falling apart in midair.
Attorneys are often questioned about their fees, and they don’t always feel comfortable defending what they do, so much so that reducing fees or not charging clients for lengthy phone calls or half-day research projects are not unusual in this practice area. But every time a phone call goes unbilled, someone has to pay for it.
With a client care program in place, clients know their families are getting the protection they deserve from their estate planning attorney. They like knowing that they have access to their attorney. And the attorneys are happy because they are getting paid for their knowledge and experience. Even staff members are happier and more engaged, knowing that they are working with a law firm that is doing good work and that cares, truly cares, about their clients.
The next Client Care Academy Foundations Workshop takes place March 28 – 29, 2019. Registration will open soon. If you have any questions in the meantime, please call Megan Davitt, Program Coordinator, at [email protected] or 888-341-6222.