Many attorneys describe themselves as “full-service attorneys,” which means they provide all kinds of expertise and assistance when providing legal services to clients. In the competitive legal market, many clients want to know that they can call their attorneys day and night and that their lawyers go above and beyond to ensure that a client’s needs are met. This often requires a lawyer to perform a number of non-legal tasks in unique ways.
Throughout my career, I have had to perform a number of non-legal tasks to ensure that the best legal representation was provided to a client. For example, a few years ago I had a personal injury case and my client had to undergo an independent medical examination. I gave the examiner’s name and address to my client, and I thought my client would be fine with going to and from the appointment.
However, a few days before the appointment, my client told me that her car broke down and she would not be able to drive to the appointment. The appointment was a bit far from my client’s house, so it would not have been practical to use a ride-sharing service to get to and from the appointment. Due to the situation, I told my client that I would drive her to her appointment. This seemed like the most convenient option and I had to make sure my client showed up successfully for the appointment.
It ended up being quite an intense journey. I did bring my client to the appointment, but had to wait over an hour in the waiting room while my client was seen by the examiner. Meanwhile, the work kept piling up as other clients contacted me for their legal needs. On the way back there was a huge accident on the freeway and we were stopped on the road for unbelievable weather. Eventually, several hours into the trip, I dropped my client off at her place before heading home. However, passing my client’s medical exam was important to the case, and my efforts ensured that my client got to and from the appointment with as few complications as possible.
Another time I was handling a fence for a client, and my client was not in the area where the fence was to take place. Even though most closings at this time were happening virtually, this closing was happening in person and my client wanted me to show up personally to pick up the client’s check. I didn’t know why the client didn’t just allow the check to be mailed to her after the closing was over, but I obliged the client and attended the closing in person.
It ended up being a bigger ordeal than I expected. I had trouble finding parking which added a lot of stress and time to the experience. I then had to sit through closing with little to do for nearly an hour, time I could have used for other matters. Finally, after closing, I got the check and then sent the check to my client as she wished. The client seemed to know that attending the closing in person required considerable effort, and I’m sure she appreciates the consideration.
Yet another time during COVID-19, I had to go above and beyond to be a full-service attorney for my client. I had a client who needed to be filed but was struggling with the technology. The client was unsure if he could use Zoom to attend the deposition, and he preferred that I come to his home so that we could both attend the deposition virtually. I had some reservations about this due to COVID-19 fears, but I obliged my client and traveled to his home to be present during the deposition.
My client lived in an area with extreme rush hour traffic, so the drive took almost two hours. Once at my client’s, I spoke with his family before and during the deposition. Then I had to make an equally long return trip. However, the client seemed to appreciate the effort, and traveling to be with the client during his deposition certainly made the deposition easier.
Altogether, “full-service” attorneys often have to perform a number of non-legal duties in order to ensure that legal representation is as successful as possible. However, such efforts can help build client relationships and show clients that lawyers will go above and beyond when providing legal services.
Jordan Rothman is a partner of The Rothman Law Firm, a full-service New York and New Jersey law firm. He is also the founder of Student Debt Diary, a website explaining how he paid off his student loans. You can reach Jordan by e-mail at [email protected].