Last week, my daughter (age 8) asked me “What is a client?”
She had heard me relay some comment to my husband about an old client who called to say hello.
“My clients are the people who call me and need help. My clients are people who have had something really bad happen, and they need a lawyer to help make it better.”
She has met a number of my clients. She has been to their homes. They have called during dinner, on weekends, on Holidays – sometimes because of an emergency, and sometimes just to say hello. She has seen me in tears on the phone with a client, and asked “good tears or bad tears mommy?” This Thanksgiving, she witnessed me learn of one client’s death from cancer. She watched another client call to wish me Thanksgiving blessings. She has seen me sneak away to check on clients, their physical and mental health, to stop in – just because. She has been with me to visit them in the hospital.
Many lawyers enter the profession to help people. In fact, I think most of us do. But few practice areas really allow that kind of personal connection.
Our office and our practice is unique. We get to pick our clients. We spend years with them during what is often the hardest part of their life so far – a medical tragedy or emergency that has changed their family, forever.
And as we walk with people on these most difficult paths, we try to tread lightly. We try to advise but with compassion, empathy and thoughtfulness.
My partner Lauren Davis gives her heart to her clients. I have witnessed and heard them tell her how her advice (and love) has changed their lives forever.
One client recently wrote about her: “Lauren is wonderful. So nice and caring.” A second wrote that Lauren provided “excellent service, and was an expert on the details.”
Clients feel the same way about my partner Dan Frith. One recently wrote that Dan made her feel like a trusted friend, never talking down to her. She said that “he always listened” to her throughout the case.
Bo, our youngest attorney, has a following of clients who call and write just to check on him. One invites him over for meals (pre-COVID) and said he was a skilled but compassionate young attorney.
This isn’t a post about the law, or malpractice. This is a post about humans, and loss, and what matters. This is a post about my colleagues and how honored I am to work with them, for you – telling your story, seeking justice when life has caused you great pain.
Our clients are some of the best people I know. When their cases end, we stay in touch. Our professional relationships move quickly into personal ones and for that, I am so grateful to practice law.
If I answered my daughter’s question differently, I would tell her my clients are the people who trust me – but they are people I love and trust in return. My clients are the reason I practice law and are clearly the reason we do what we do.
So, to past, present and future clients – I wish you joy this Holiday Season. I wish you peace, and safety- and health.