This week has presented a conundrum of sorts for me. I like to think of myself as a finesse player with a power game in reserve. I think that many of my clients and potential clients see me more as a power player. To explain myself, I would like to analogize a pair of tools, one being a chisel and the other a jackhammer. Both are used to remove material from an area but the respective functionality of the two is on opposite sides of the scale. The chisel can do delicate work like a wood carver might do in adding ornate carvings to a piece of fine furniture while the jackhammer rumbles and gyrates as it crushes material below it and shatters into pieces whatever to which it was applied. My clients that are in a litigation see me coming down the hall like a jackhammer shattering homes, disrupting marriages, breaking apart business relationships, crushing the IRS. I am valuable because I do the hard work but I leave others to pick up the pieces behind me in that situation.
In contrast, when I am doing strategic planning and providing counsel on moving a transaction forward I have the opportunity, and I take the opportunity, to tie up the client’s matter with a pretty bow and deliver it like a birthday present, batteries included. At those times, my clients see me as an artisan, thorough and detailed like a chisel, a true counselor.
The problem that I see for many of my clients or potential clients is that they are unable to perceive the value of the chisel. Its too fancy, its reserved for the privileged, it just doesn’t fit their businesses and lifestyles. My response to that stance is that without the chisel, you may very well need the jackhammer and then you aren’t happy cleaning up the pieces that have been flung hither and thither. Then you really are in a situation where you cannot have the counselor, you must find the lawyer.
Perceptions must change because the new law firm is here. Big law cannot serve everyone and many times they are a disservice in that they propagate a feeling that the average businessman cannot have the competent counsel he/she so richly deserves. Check your perceptions at the welcome screen and give me a call, lets see if that ornate chisel work of a Counselor will save you from the Lawyer’s Jackhammer.