As a solo practitioner attorney, I know what
it means to run a business. Therefore, I keep these principles in mind
when working with my clients:
Prevent legal problems whenever possible. If problems already exist, then solve them in a cost-effective manner. Business owners appreciate practical solutions tailored to their specific circumstances.
Keep the client informed as to the cost and likely result of legal services in advance. I explain various options and discuss potential outcomes. While we lawyers never like to be pinned down, I try to tell clients something more specific than "it could go either way."
If I do not have the type of legal skills a client needs in a situation, then I will tell the client that and provide a referral to a lawyer who can handle the matter.
Lawyers should not be a "necessary evil." They instead should contribute to the client's decision-making process and help improve the bottom line by identifying pitfalls and by helping to resolve disputes at an early stage. If a business owner hesitates to pick up the telephone to talk to his or her attorney, then that owner is working with the wrong attorney.
I encourage my clients (especially new ones) to ask me "how much will this cost" and "are there other [less expensive] options." This is the type of question that I would ask if I were in their place. I never hesitate to discuss fees and financial constraints. I also am pretty good at coming up with a budget and sticking to it.