So, What Makes a Good Client?

When I work with good clients, I find that I am especially motivated to get them great results because the relationship is rewarding for me. Conversations with clients result in new ideas, constructive criticism and to-do items that keep the project moving in a forward direction that produces results. I find myself suggesting new things to try with these clients, even if I haven’t tried it before.

So what makes a “good client?” The glib answer, for many attorneys, would simply be a client that pays his or her bills. But the fact that someone is willing to give you their money in exchange for your legal services, while a good thing, does not automatically make them a good client. I have many clients, each with varying personalities and qualities that make them unique. What I have learned over many years is that the clients I consider the best generally share a number of characteristics.

Communicates expectations clearly. The number one characteristic of a good client is that they are able to express what they want and need.  This ability is vital to delivering the right service.

Allows a reasonable amount of time for the work. The world is filled with clients who want it “yesterday.” Often, what these clients actually get is a rushed job, potentially full of mistakes, and ultimately requiring a lot of rework. A good client, however, understands that quality work takes time and plans accordingly.

Is accessible. There’s nothing more frustrating than being surprised by an obstacle and being unable to reach your client. Good clients make themselves available are prepared and give 100% to every meeting.

Understands the value of the work performed. A good client understands the difference between value and cost. At the end of the day, it is the value received from a service that matters, not what it cost.

Has high integrity. Honesty is at the core of every successful relationship. Both the good client and K&G conduct all of their business together in an honest and transparent fashion.

Seeks an ongoing relationship. The best clients understand the value of an ongoing relationship. They are a good fit with K&G’s talents and skills. Regardless of how much creativity and versatility K&G offers, we are better suited for some clients than others. The closer K&G’s talents and skills match a client’s needs, the more enjoyable and beneficial their relationship will be.

Allows the attorney to do the job. A good client keeps an open mind and is not constantly second-guessing. Negotiation and debate is, and should be, a part of every engagement involving professional services.  It should be characterized by a friendly and realistic give-and-take, to arrive at an agreed upon strategy. However, once that strategy is established, a good client demonstrates trust in the attorney. Clients who micro-manage every action may not understand what is truly involved in representing them, and are likely to get a worse result than if they let their attorney perform the tasks they are paying for.

The best client relationships are ones where there is mutual respect and appreciation. Fun, challenge, prestige, satisfaction, creative freedom, peer recognition, personal chemistry: these are all important aspects of a good attorney-client relationship. If you like your client, and vice-versa, it influences attitude and energy level. A client with the right attitude is a proven asset.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Kate Lawrence says:

    I strongly agree with the first three characteristics. Clients that prioritize communication, realistic deadlines and accessibility are only setting themselves up for success! As a businesswoman I can see both sides of the looking glass and as a client I understand how hard it is to meet all of the qualities listed here. I am appreciative of clients who respect what I am trying to do for them and my work is always better as a result of that mutual respect.

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