why it’s a great time to be a village lawyer

As we were driving from one weekend activity to the next in our small New York suburb, my middle child looked up from her cell phone and, in an iPod-induced-too-loud-voice, said, “I love this town. It’s pretty, friendly and makes me feel safe.” I think she gave voice to what many of us feel and experience in our personal and professional lives.

When people engage lawyers – especially in contentious matters – they often arrive at our door feeling unsafe and insecure. As much as they want our legal advice and guidance, they’re also expecting that we’ll help them gain/regain a sense of safety and security. The problem is that many lawyers are unaware of their clients’ emotional needs. As a result, clients quickly frustrate and the attorney-client relationship becomes stressful and unproductive all around.

One good solution stems from knowing what it means to be a village lawyer. Put a bit differently, lawyers benefit from understanding what millions of people, including my daughter, so positively respond to about the villages in their lives. With that knowledge and understanding, we can focus on figuring out how to recreate that village sensibility for our clients’ (and our own) benefit. 

Addressing this topic, one of my favorite bloggers, Sonia Simone, writes that it’s a great time to start and nurture a village business.

While village businesses aren’t bound by brick and mortar or geographical limits, they are “personal, intimate, and human-scaled” and “serve a relatively small number of people.” Even if you’re a lawyer in a large firm, you can still be a village lawyer because you’re likely dealing with a small number of clients. As village lawyers, we share a common bond with our clients because we understand and relate to their common needs, interests and concerns.

When it comes to client service, Simone notes the importance of giving people “a place to get together. To know you better, and know one another better.” We can accomplish this virtually or face-to-face.

If you’re excited by the prospect of creating an online community for your villagers, you’ll find some thought-provoking considerations in this Social media Strategy Checklist by ClickZ’s Sean Carton. Chris Brogan enhances the dialogue by detailing 5 Things Small Business Owners Should Do Today Online.

 

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