Let’s face it, law practice is getting more competitive. Bar associations are appointing task forces to study competitiveness in the legal profession. Consultants, accountants and other lower-cost providers are encroaching on areas of law practice and competing for work that clients increasingly view as commodity services. Some even speculate that clients will soon be able to walk up to a kiosk at Wal-Mart (Law-Mart?) and, with a credit card, get a simple lease, contract or other legal document off the computer.

In shopping for professional services, clients generally value three things: customization (i. e., How effectively does the service solve their particular problem?); reasonable cost (i.e., Does the fee charged align with their perception of the value of the service?); and speed/quick response/attentiveness (i.e., Did the professional drop everything else to attend to their problem?). Unfortunately, clients do not readily recognize that one can generally get any two of these things, but never all three.

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