The Pareto principle applies to your law practice: 80% of your profit is earned from 20% of your clients, and 20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your headaches. Therefore it makes to review all of your files and to give each client a letter grade according to 8 criteria:
- Case value
- Choice of lawyer
- Ability to pay
- Takes direction
- Referral source
Here is a short guide.
"A" Clients say:
- Case value: I have up to $100,000 in provable damages.
- Capabilities: I am your target client.
- Urgency: I want to deal with my legal matter right now.
- Choice of lawyer: I want you to handle my legal matter.
- Ability to pay: I have the cash or credit to pay for a lawyer.
- Takes direction: I will do whatever you recommend and never complain.
- Referral source: I will recommend you to all my friends and contacts without prompting.
- Likeability: I'll brighten your day every time you hear or see me.
“B” Clients say:
- I have $50,000 to $10,000 in provable damages.
- I need help in an areas where the firm has experience.
- I am deciding whether to deal with my legal matter.
- I want your firm to handle my legal matter. I need to be convinced about you.
- I am looking to get my legal matter handled as cheaply as possible.
- I want you to recommend options for me to consider.
- I will mention you if you beat my expectations.
- I am pleasant, businesslike and easy to work with.
“C” Clients say:
- I may have $5,000 in damages but the evidence is uncertain.
- I have a problem you can probably figure out.
- I'm deciding whether to get around to dealing with my legal matter.
- I'm shopping for a law firm. You're No. 3 for today.
- I need you to finance my case.
- I'll won't take your recommendations until I double-check them with my friends and the Web.
- I don't want anyone to ever know I had a legal problem, so I won't refer you.
- You can find a way to tolerate me.
There are no D clients. Anything less than a “C” is an “F.”