Reprise: What Sets You Apart?

November 25, 2015 § 3 Comments

Reprise replays posts from the past that you may find useful today.


November 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

Many years ago, when I had been practicing law only a few years, my father-in-law posed this question to me: “What sets you apart from the other lawyers in your town?”

His question was actually “What is it about you that makes people want to hire you instead of any of the other lawyers in your town?”

Now I will confess that I had not really given that sort of thing much thought at the time. With all the demands of a law practice, a family and the myriad other things that make up the life of a young lawyer, I hadn’t taken time to sit down and ponder that sort of thing.

But I have in the many years since. And I learned to become aware of the things that I could do as a lawyer that would add value for my clients. I learned that not all lawyers take time to listen to their clients, to really hear what their concerns are — so I tried to listen better. I learned that most lawyers do not take the time to explain to their clients what is happening and will happen in their cases — so I tried to explain. I learned that many lawyers are impatient with their clients and try to cut them short — so I tried to be patient and give them some attention. I learned that there are lawyers who file sloppy pleadings and discovery — so I tried to make sure that everything I filed looked professional and like it was done with care. I learned that some lawyers do not prepare their clients and key witnesses for trial — so I did, and did a better job than many in litigation.

Sometimes I fell short. But I like to think that most times I succeeded. Simply because I took care to give some thought and attention to what I could do to do a little better job.

My father-in-law also told me that only 10% of people in any profession are superlative, and it takes only a little extra effort and attention to rise above the other 90%. It takes continued attention and effort to stay in that special 10%.

Clients like to think they are getting the best when they spend their hard-earned money to hire a lawyer.

What sets you apart? What is it about the way you practice law that makes people want to hire you instead of the other 90% of lawyers?

§ 3 Responses to Reprise: What Sets You Apart?

  • Nancy Parkes says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Judge Primeaux. Thank you for your blog — I am thankful I discovered it this year and have enjoyed reading it very much.

  • Debbie Allen says:

    I adore and respect your thoughtful attitude. I like to think of myself as an educator first. If I can make them understand the law and how it applies to their case, what I can do and what I WON”T do even if I can, and how the process works – I find the relationship is a much better one. I try and make sure that they understand that the law is not like what they see on tv , that it is much less cynical, and that there are very few “Perry Mason” moments ( That one works on my age group) or “Gotcha” moments in a trial.

    I also have a framed quote attributed to Mark Twain on my wall, “If you are telling the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” They think it’s cute until they understand, they WILL tell the truth.
    The best lawyers plod – they expedite – they try and “push jello uphill” to get a case done in a timely and most cost efficient manner. Once they understand these things – the clients that can or want to – the client seems to have more respect for me, my decisions and the whole system. But, like you said, we don’t always get it right and when you don’t – you claim and fix it on your own dime.

    Chancery practice is not something I ever meant to do and when I went solo 25 years ago, I HAD to take on a family law case to eat. I was surprised to discover that I loved it. Really, I just love it. It’s a chance to make a real difference in people’s lives and in their children’s lives. It’s a chance to good work. I may never own a golf course, but, the work is steady.

    Thank you for reminding us all that we “Chancery rats” are real lawyers even though we don’t perform in front of a jury every week.
    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and, again, thank you for thoughts, suggestions, warnings, insights and sense of the big picture. I only recently started following you and reading your blog religiously and it is my loss that I did not start sooner.
    And, no, peers, I don’t have a case in front of Judge Primeaux – and likely won’t – so I feel I can be effusive as it is deserved.

  • Vance Daly says:

    Great concept. Thanks for the reprise.

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