Not everyone can be a lawyer but not everyone can be a therapist either. We all have our place in the food chain. But I would say…times are a changing. Therapists need to be more business savvy and lawyers need to work on a more sensitive approach….
1. Remember you are touching lives when people are at their most hurt and vulnerable. They are feeling unloved, angry, and often victimized. They are paying you top dollar for your professional services. Your job is therefore make them feel as though you actually care about them as whole people.
2. Is enough ever enough? Yes. You know when you have enough cases. It’s ok to say no and turn cases down rather than hurt the ones you have by doing a bad/rushed job.
People know when they are being ‘juggled’. You looking at my file ‘over the weekend’ doesn’t make me feel good – please never say that. It just means I’m not important enough to fit into your day job.
3. Be professional at all times. Always and I mean ALWAYS return phonecalls and emails when you say you will. It is 100% not acceptable to miss a deadline.
Being ‘stuck in court’ working someone elses case is no excuse. It means you ‘don’t have time for me’. Have your assistant return the phone call or email on your behalf.
4. Remain respectful at all times. It isn’t your job to agree that the hurt parties partner is a vindictive bastard. THEY have the right to own those feelings. You should not agree with them. Remain a neutral calming force.
5. Ask about how they are doing. Ask about their health. Offer them refreshments. Suggest a physical if they complain of not being able to eat or sleep. This sort of stress can be a killer. I have known someone have a stroke on the day the divorce came through. Ask about the children. Keep a list of good local therapists in case your client is ready for one.
6. Be ready when the divorce comes through to thank your client for entrusting you to handle their divorce. Send them a small gift – perhaps your favorite book with a personal note. This personal touch shows that you really cared. That they weren’t just a number.
If all the of the above gives you the willies – think ‘referrals’! You treat people right and they will tell their friends….