21 Fundamentals which are the foundation for our unique culture.
1 – Deliver outstanding legal advice. Find the smartest and most efficient way for clients to achieve their objectives, while maintaining a healthy respect for their budget and ability to pay.
2 – Treat clients’ money as if it were your own. Think about the cost of pleadings and depositions. Avoid unnecessary hand deliveries, overnight mail, etc. and only authorize work and expenses that have a demonstrable benefit to the client.
3 – Be Passionate About the Client Experience. Make every client interaction stand out for its empathy, warmth, and helpfulness. Be obsessive about response time and keeping clients updated on the status of their issues.
4 - Walk in your clients’ shoes. Think from their perspective. Demonstrate “business empathy” by understanding their fears and concerns and showing you care. Ask yourself. “If I were in their shoes, ‘What would I want to know?’, and ‘How would I want to be treated?’”
5 – Listen Fully. Listening is more than simply "not speaking". Give others your undivided attention. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions. Listen with focus. Most importantly, listen to understand.
6 - Manage expectations. Establish mutually agreeable expectations as to the time, expense and goals of every engagement. Let clients know what to expect and when. Clients should not be surprised.
7 – Honor Commitments. Do what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it. If a commitment can't be fulfilled, notify others early and agree upon a new commitment to be honored.
8 – Act with integrity. Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action you take and in every decision you make. Own up to your own mistakes and apologize. If you make a mistake, clean it up.
9 - Leave your ego at the door. At all times, stay focused on serving the needs of the client, rather than on serving your ego. Remember – it’s about the client, not you!
10 - Communicate to be understood. Know your audience. Using the language of your audience, write and speak clearly and concisely, in a way that they can easily understand.
11 - Demonstrate respect. Show respect for others by being a good listener, paying attention to your tone of voice, and acknowledging others’ contributions. This includes clients, adverse counsel, co-workers, vendors, and those we touch in the community.
12 - Practice blameless problem solving. Blame has no place in our firm. Fix errors by focusing on solutions, not assessing blame. Learn from mistakes and use that knowledge to improve our processes. Without mistakes, there is no learning.
13 - Always remember that we’re in business to serve clients profitably. The happier our clients are, the more likely we get paid. Pay attention to billing and to receivables. There’s no need to apologize for making money. Remember our motto: Happy client AND paid bill.
14 - Respect the need to balance professional independence and firm consistency. While we’ve all developed our own ways to be successful, it’s also important for us to maintain firm consistency in many areas, and to follow firm policies for the best interests of the organization as a whole.
15 – Treasure, protect, and promote our reputation. We’re all caretakers and beneficiaries of the firm’s image and reputation at all times and in all situations. Consider how your actions affect our collective reputation, and act in a way that brings honor to the firm.
16 - Don’t be a jerk - always take the high road. Maintain professionalism at all times. Keep emotions under control. Advocating forcefully for the interests of our clients does not require bullying, condescension, foul language, or temper tantrums. This applies to co-workers, opposing counsel, and vendors. Be a “mensch”.
17 - Be relentless about continuous improvement. Be a “lifetime learner.” Continually invest in your own education, both formally and informally. Never stop improving your legal, technical and personal skills. Excellence is a journey, not a destination.
18 - Be a mentor. Take responsibility, both formally and informally, to coach, guide, teach, and mentor others. Contributing to the success of others enhances your own success and well-being, as well as the firm’s.
19 - Embrace change. Nothing stays the same. Change creates energy, excitement and learning. Be inspired by the challenges and the possibilities that change creates. The better and faster we can adapt to change, the stronger our firm becomes.
20 - Maintain a healthy work/life balance. Stay happier, healthier, and more productive by balancing your time between billable hours, marketing, community activities, family, emotional/spiritual well-being, and physical fitness.
21 – Keep things FUN. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Fun and laughter help us keep perspective. They renew our spirit, keep us energized and help us think more clearly.