Lessons for Being a Successful Lawyer Learned at Nordstrom

A guest post at Forbes.com this week entitled How Working As A Stock Girl At Nordstrom Prepared Me For Being A Lawyer had me smiling and nodding my head through the entire piece. 

You should read the whole thing, but I’ll paraphrase here on what Wendy Goffe, a tax and estate planning lawyer from Seattle, learned about being a successful attorney from her days as a stock girl at Nordstrom:

1. Exceptional client service is a competitive advantage. Exceptional client service begins with doing what you say you will do. It becomes a competitive advantage for your firm when it permeates everything – from who you hire, to how employees are trained, to how you run your firm. There is no replacement for a great client experience.

2. Solve problems. People hire lawyers to solve a problem. But everyone’s problems, and their approaches to a solution, differ. You must help them reach their goals using the skills you have by understanding what is important to the client, not on the outcome you necessarily believe is best.

3. Make your office inviting. The minute a prospective client walks in the door, your office environment tells them a story about the level of service they can expect from you. Greet them warmly, offer them a beverage or snack, and for God’s sake, don’t make them wait!

4. Hire and empower great people. Nothing speaks more loudly about your firm than the people that work there. Make every hire a great one, and train your people in how you want your firm represented. Empower them to find solutions for clients and loyalty will follow.

5. Everyone has a different definition of service. This is an important one. We have lots of clients; some want to talk to us every week, and some want their law firm marketing program to run smoothly without their direct involvement. This is why we tailor all our service offerings to each individual client. They are all important, but they are all different. Learn the differences and how you can meet their individual expectations.

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