As someone who has operated extensively on both the buyer and seller sides of the legal profession, I’m naturally prone to preaching the “understanding your client” doctrine as a key best practice for all marketing and business development efforts. While I’ve taken some pains to define what understanding your client actually means, it’s important to remind ourselves that the process of getting to know your client requires really in-depth listening — and that it often presents a few genuine surprises and problems along the way.

A SURPRISING EXAMPLE

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