New bi-weekly blog Series, Observations from Reception, helps small firm attorneys in shared law office space be more productive and improve their client’s experience by providing insight about their law practice from the perspective of LFS’ non-practitioner receptionists.
One of the benefits of solo and small firm practice is low overhead. We achieve this by handling much of the administrative work related to our practices on our own, thus eliminating expenses related to admin staff salaries.
Low overhead of a small firm practice may mean sacrificing on certain amenities.
Sometimes this means sacrificing certain amenities that our big firm counterparts may have. One such amenity is reception services.
For the lawyers who lease their own spaces, many just go without a receptionist. Other lawyers who sublet office space, or who rent shared law office space offered by companies like Law Firm Suites, rely on other firms’/companies’ employees to properly greet their guests.
Clients are not confrontational, so there may be a disconnect between your perception of the client experience and what it is in reality.
The problem is, when someone other than your own employee handles reception for your firm, there can be a disconnect between the sometimes a disconnect between what you think the client’s experience is, and the reality.
For example, if you are habitually 30 minutes late for your client meetings, you may have a lot of annoyed clients. Most people are not confrontational and will not tell you that your tardiness makes them angry.
If your receptionist is someone else’s employee, they may not be forthcoming about how clients are reacting to your habits (the good and bad).
However, the receptionist who interacts with your guest while they wait for you sees an entirely different picture that may range from mild annoyance to outright hostility.
In this case, whether the receptionist was your employee or someone else’s, it’s unlikely that he or she would address your habitual lateness directly. However, if the receptionist was your employee, there is greater likelihood that they may give you a heads-up as to the client’s behavior since that person has a greater vested interest in the success of your firm.
About the blog series, Observations from Reception.
Law Firm Suite’s non-lawyer receptionists get to see an entirely different side of our client’s practices, and one that the might not be so familiar with. So I have asked our staff to write a bi-weekly blog series called “Observations from Reception” to give our clients some insight, from a non-practitioner’s perspective, about the goings-on in the reception area. Our hope is that this insight helps our clients improve their client’s experience (if they are so inclined).
In this series, no client will ever be named without first obtaining their permission, and no one lawyer will ever be singled out (so that person can be easily identified by their habits). We will address an amalgamation of habits (good and bad) that we see occurring consistently among several attorneys. Our hope is that we can all learn from the good habits, and find ways to improve the bad, which will make us all more successful.
Stephen Furnari left the security of a law firm job and began practicing as a self-employed attorney in 2002. He is now a partner in the law firm Furnari Scher LLP. In 2006, Furnari founded Law Firm Suites to help other solo attorneys and small law firms retain a competitive edge in today’s increasingly crowded legal market. Stephen is a recognized expert in legal entrepreneurship and has been featured in ABA Journal, New York Daily News, Crain’s New York and Entrepreneur.