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Lawyer Performance Is In The Eyes Of The Beholder

People often have differing views or opinions about the very same thing-- and that difference can be even more pronounced when the position one holds is dramatically different than the position held by another. For instance, where one is a client and the other is a lawyer.

No small wonder, then, that there might be a difference of opinion about the rules of professional conduct supposed to govern lawyer behavior-- rules written by lawyers (albeit, for the purported benefit of the clients). How is it that "rules" governing lawyers, were written by lawyers? Why was that ever permitted? Seems to me to be a bit bass-akwards, so to speak.

I understand the realities of the modern business world, and I know nothing is likely to change (at least, collectively). That doesn't mean, however, that on an individual basis, clients can't insist on changing the engagement dynamic and maybe even changing some of the assumed "rules" (an Engagement Letter is nothing more than a contract for services, and the terms of that contract are all negotiable/enforceable between two consenting adults).

Where I'm headed with all this is (predictably) in making two particular points: 1) There's no reason why the billable hour should control the financial aspects of a business relationship between lawyer and client-- the value of legal services can be measured by lots of different metrics (like a fixed fee), and 2) There's no reason why a client ought not require (as many already do, in matters such as diversity) that any firm wishing to represent them, have a meaningful wellbeing initiative in place, to benefit the women and men who are supposed to perform work on behalf of the client-- after all, any such benefit to lawyers or legal staff should ultimately inure to the benefit of the client.

For me, it's all about wellbeing and I urge clients to not be bashful about exercising their franchise-- be vocal advocates for a good cause that can both benefit others and benefit themselves.



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