Justin B.Stivers T H E L AW O F F I C E S O F A P R O B AT E F I R M
Growth vs. Relationships
The Dichotomy Between the Two
The more I practice law, the more I see the inherent conflict in how lawyers relate to our clients. On the one hand, we work with people and provide customer service, and on the other, we are trying to grow a business. How can we focus on meeting the specific needs of our individual clients while seeking to provide our services to the broadest spectrum of the population as possible? The two ideas seem to be at odds. While there are probably many different ways to approach this, I think it’s important to strive for balance. Here’s how I go about it. My approach to how our firm does business is very process-oriented, but I certainly care about my clients. It’s important to walk them through each step of our process so that they are in the loop, but sometimes this presents another issue: The more information we give, the more control a client is going to naturally assume over their case. And while it is crucial that clients understand the many moving parts relative to their needs, it’s just as pivotal for them to let the attorneys do our job. As a lawyer, my goal is the same as the client’s — to achieve results. Most of our clients are with us for 5–8 months, so we’re definitely going to develop a relationship with them, but these connections are strictly professional. While there is indeed a range of emotions our clients go through, the best way to care for them is to do our job at a high-
performance level. Constant communication and professionalism go a long way towards getting desirable results. When it comes to growth, keeping our relationships professional allows me to scale my business effectively. I can lend a listening ear, and I often do lend support that way, but navigating emotional complexities is not my expertise. The best way for my firm to get results is to make sure we focus our energy on executing our legal duties. Our obligation is to our clients, first and foremost. We build deeper connections in other ways — such as this newsletter — or through in-person conversations. Our clients experience stress because they are going through a time in their lives when they need legal help. We can help alleviate that stress by creating streamlined systems
for them. The loss of a loved one is hard enough, but the legal wrangling that comes afterward can be a heavy burden that often doesn’t allow proper mourning. Funeral plans, probate court, and family arguments can take up a significant amount of time, and they can draw the focus away from honoring the deceased. We help by making sure that the experience of dealing with a lawyer isn’t one of those constant pain points. My job is to eliminate as much stress as possible and to help families move forward in life. I want to help as many people as I can so that growth and relationships work together, not against each other.
The best way for my firm to get results is to make sure we focus our energy on executing our legal duties.
_Justin B. Stivers
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