Take the time to tell clients a little about what they are getting when they invest in your services, and they may be happier people when your bill arrives, a group of tax law and financial professionals was told at a recent conference on the Delaware campus.
Chicago attorney Louis S. Harrison, known nationally for his lively and engaging talks, was the distinguished speaker at the Delaware Tax Institute program held Friday, Nov. 20. Harrison dispensed an hour’s worth of advice and tips on client billing designed to yield satisfied clients.
“We don’t spend enough time letting our clients know who we are,” Harrison said, explaining few attorneys pause to tell a client about their special research, study or scholarship in a subject matter of importance to the client. Calling himself one of the worst offenders, Harrison said clients would be pleased to know their attorneys are thinking about them and their needs during long days at the office and on the road at conferences.
Clients who hear these things “are going to value you more as a professional,” he said. Other tips? Be thoughtful about the words on the bill that describe your services and avoid general terms like “review,” opting instead for more powerful specifics. And, don’t come to work dressed like you’re really headed to the golf course. “If you’re going to charge an hourly rate or a big fee, look like you are worth it,” he said.
About 75 attorneys and accountants listened to Harrison speak in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom. Earlier in the day, Law Dean Linda L. Ammons
welcomed the group to Widener. The Delaware Tax Institute program is now in its 42nd year. Widener Law has hosted it since 2007. This year’s program was titled, “2010: Back to the Future or More of the Same?”
“The institute has a long and distinguished history of collaboration and educational exchange between attorneys, accountants and financial services professionals,” Ammons said. “I know you will be educated and informed by these impressive professionals and I thank you for coming to our law school to participate in this institute.”
Attendees heard panel discussions on 2009 income tax developments and recent developments in estate planning. There was also a roundtable discussion on business transactions and breakout sessions on topics including life insurance and planning considerations for domestic partners.