Reviewed in the United States on February 1, 2020
Jack's been at the helm of one of the primary drivers of innovation in the legal industry for years, and it's always been visible in his work, including this book, that he is focused on business excellence through inclusion. Take Clio's vast marketplace where users of its software can plug in various other tools in their toolkit. Take their conference which brings together practitioners from across the U.S. & Canada. Take the development of the software itself, priced affordably for and tailored to small law firms. It's no surprise that his message in this book -- that it's finally time to define, prioritize, and deliver a client-focused approach at your firm -- is consistent with this modus operandi that (it appears to outsiders like me) has driven him and his company for so long.
But what is surprising is the incredibly approachable and coaching manner in which Jack delivers his case, never shaming or blaming, just looking forward. It's the "you'll thank me later for telling you *now* to eat your vegetables/work out/sleep well/whatever's-good-for-you-and-hard" approach, because let's face it: when you're really great at one thing (lawyering), you're naturally inclined to spend your time on it, and not the thing that's hard or may not come naturally, or isn't proven, or isn't normalized. But what Jack says here is, what isn't "normal" in law firms (client-focused approaches to business growth), is actually remarkably normalized (indeed more so everyday) in other industries. He provides ample examples of the top service leaders in the world, who invest richly in service teams and processes, and who are rewarded many times over the initial investment by clients who become raving fans.
Every year, the Clio report shows that lawyers, largely to no fault of their own, lack business acumen, are overworked, want to grow but don't know where to start or how, and miss out on clients because of simple, easily corrected missteps like not picking up the phone. The issue Jack rightly identifies in this book, is not that we don't have 1,0001 tools for serving clients, but that many lawyers don't subscribe to exceptional client service being the #1 path to sustainable success in business, and that, frankly, in not subscribing to a client-centered approach to business, lawyers are fooling themselves and tying their hands.
Bottom line: No matter what you do to optimize your ads, refine your systems, motivate your team, access the best case research, you will never reach the full potential of your firm without client-service as your true north. It's a flywheel. It involves a client life-cycle that starts with a fast & friendly greeting for new clients, and continues through a stewardship during onboarding, a proactive approach to delivering case updates, an easy solution for payments (paper checks, still, really?), and a resolution, that no matter the outcome, the experience for the client with the lawyer remains positive. The result? Better, cheaper growth. Why? Because the best source of growth is through referrals, and those only come from happy clients and community members who respect not just the results of your work, but the way you carry it out. Would your clients recommend you? And do you want those recommendations to not solely be based on the outcomes of your cases, which are not 100% in your control? Of course you do! Client-centered firms are in control of their client happiness regardless of the outcome of the case. Think about that, if you're at the mercy of a practice area that doesn't guarantee "success" or isn't largely made up of completed tasks. No matter how incredible you are in your practice of law, if you focus only on the case or the work, your control is limited.
Lawyers typically operate in an outcome-driven role, bound by strict ethics and many other barriers other business owners don't face, all of which pose risks to their monetary success and stability. But along the way, you have to work with a client (B2B or B2C) and us humans, now more than ever, rate our experiences towards outcomes just as much as the result itself. Just think about eating at a restaurant. A flawless, delicious meal served cold or late, rarely gets 5-stars for the food.
What Jack has done here is remarkable: He has given lawyers renewed *control* over the growth potential of their practice by redirecting their attention from winning cases to winning hearts. It's a green space. Your competition isn't focused on this (at least not *yet*). So, the time to act is right now. You've likely already established that your firm does quality work. So have many others. Now, armed with Jack's prompt and evidenced advice, it's time to establish your advantage: that your firm delivers such exceptional service that it leaves an indelible mark on clients who eagerly, as raving fans, spread the word loudly and proudly to the great benefit of your firm.