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What Clients Want v. What Lawyers Sell

Tuesday, November 22, 2016 10:23
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Square peg and a round hole. Metaphor for a misfit or nonconformist.

There is a disconnect between what clients want and what lawyers sell. Clients, as many commentators have pointed out, just want their legal problem solved.

Consumers don’t want drill bits, they want holes. They don’t want a scanner, they want a digital copy of a paper document. They don’t want a taxi, they want to get home. In each case, the product or service is just a means to an end. But not the only means. There are other ways to get holes, digital documents, and transportation. Sometimes better ways.

Similarly, clients don’t want to hire a lawyer, they just want their legal problem solved.

Clients don’t want a contract, they want a relationship. They don’t want to litigate, they want to right a wrong. They don’t want a divorce, they want to move on with their lives.

Contrast that with what lawyers sell. Do a Google image search for “lawyer billboards.” Nearly all of the results are a picture of a lawyer and an adjective before the word lawyer. This woman, the personal injury lawyer. This guy, the family lawyer. Maybe the lawyer billboards on found on Google aren’t the most representative cross-section of lawyer advertising, but consider all you hear about personal branding and professional networking. It seems like most lawyers are selling, well, lawyers.

But remember, most of the time the client doesn’t want a lawyer. The client wants a solution.

When you talk to clients and referral sources—face-to-face, on your website, in your ad campaigns, etc.—are you talking about yourself or are you talking about solutions to their problems?

What Clients Want v. What Lawyers Sell was originally published on


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