Encouraging Creative and Innovative Thinking to Achieve Results for Clients
As attorneys, non-attorney professionals and staff, we ultimately all have the same objective: by ethical means, achieve the best outcome for our clients, through hard work, creative thinking and dedication. The best outcome may not always be a “win,” whether it is a business or a litigated matter; however, we should always strive to exceed client expectations and perform in a manner that reflects positively on yourself, your firm as a whole and your community.
Handling matters in a routine manner is an easy cop-out. What can and should set you apart is creative and innovative thinking that achieves positive results. This mantra has many potential variants, depending on the type of representation, the subject matter and the complexity involved.
Being creative and innovative involves much more than opposition research – it also can involve writing. Consider adding graphics, hypertext links, images of important documents and charts to briefs, presentations or other materials. We live in an increasingly visual world and using these resources can leverage and electrify an otherwise dry black and white document.
Staffing is another area in which creativity pays dividends. Don’t let oneself become trapped in the safety cocoon of your particular practice group. Transactional matters often benefit from behind the scenes involvement by a litigator – whether it be final review of contractual documents from a risk avoidance perspective or assisting in construction of negotiating positions, with an eye toward legal leverage. The converse is also true and your firm’s business lawyers can be an in-house treasure for assistance in commercial litigation.
Creative staffing does not stop at the attorneys’ doors. Marketing & Client Relations staff are not here just to assist in obtaining business – they can and should work with litigators as a team in conjunction with clients. In high profile matters, get Marketing staff involved early when appropriate and make them a full member of your client service team.
Finally, in whatever the endeavor, consider a second opinion. When an attorney or staff member prepares work product, be it an important letter, a brief, graphics, a contract or anything else leaving the office, a fresh set of eyes on the “final” version is often an eye-opener. We inevitably become myopic when engrossed in a project and a quick read by the person next door or down the hall can often produce surprising and immediate benefits.
“Ad hoc legem firma nos contendunt excellentiam in omnibus nos soleant.” Put differently, at your law firm, you should strive for excellence in everything you do. Anything else is unacceptable.