If you are a family lawyer who wants (perhaps desperately) to have a strictly out-of-court practice, please take heart. You are not alone. It takes personal, professional and often financial courage to turn away some of the clients who want to retain you.
I turned the corner when I took the time to define my "five star" clients, so I could focus my brand and marketing efforts there.
I asked some of my favourite clients about their experience working with me - in every process (mediation, CP, litigation and negotiation). By favourite client, I don't mean "easy" clients or easy cases! I mean clients who worked with me - even when things were pretty challenging. They appreciated my efforts, they did their “homework” and they were able to learn and grow, personally, through their difficulties.
Most of these favourite clients said they wished they had been
better prepared for their work with me.
They thought I had great questions, but that they often had better (more insightful) answers after they left my office. They appreciated the human connection that went beyond facts, figures and the law, but sometimes they were "watching the clock" (a.k.a my hourly rate) worrying about how much this was costing them!
This was what led me to create the first Our Family in Two Homes workbook - for my clients in my town. I poured all my conflict resolution experience into a preparation tool. And it made a profound difference. Others in our collaborative community said: "Hey! This seems pretty cool. You should "sell" this!"
And here we are.
I didn't set out to build an export "start-up" but, with tremendous community support, this is where we have landed. And I achieved my initial goal. All of our clients are five star (ok, sometimes 4 star!!) clients:
Clients who want to work with us, and want to be empowered and prepared as they enter the next stage of their life.