Over the course of my legal career, I have had the opportunity to work at small, midsize and large law firms, and in-house at a startup and two Fortune 100 companies. During that journey, I have had a fair number of clients, staff members and managers, and have been fortunate to glean nuggets of wisdom from my interactions with all of them. I now share those learnings, distilled into 10 business-oriented rules. I hope these serve as powerful reminders that lawyers are nothing without the clients/managers who are willing to pay their fees/salaries.
1. Observe the 24-Hour Rule
Almost nothing upsets people more than feeling ignored. Thus, the 24-hour rule mandates that you return all emails and telephone calls within 24 hours of their receipt. I know we have all experienced dealing with clients or managers who think all things are emergencies. Often, however, perception is reality. Thus, you have to triage all incoming messages to substantively respond to those that are truly emergencies and simply respond to all others with a variation of the following: “Thank you for your [email/voicemail message]. I will [review/consider/research] and revert [shortly/tomorrow/by the end of the week].”
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