The Mentorist


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Too Much of a Good Thing: The Art of Hanging Up

I have a friend in the ‘service biz’ who knows he’s got a problem.

As a partner at one of Boston’s largest law firms, his world is ruled by clients:   At times when most people are sleeping — and at places where most people are loafing — he’s talking to clients, thinking about clients or doing work for clients.

Nothing new about that.

But my friend’s clients often come to like him so much they start calling simply to shoot the breeze or share their half-baked, ‘get-rich-quick’ ideas.

Being a well-bred sort, my friend doesn’t know how to get off the phone once these client feel-good conversations run on past their ‘sell-by dates.’  Meanwhile, work that needs doing right now piles higher, and another day at the office has been extended deep into the night. Continue reading


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From the Client’s Chair: 50 Ways to Lose Your Client — Method #1

‘From the Client’s Chair’ is a blog post series that explores some of the ways law firms ‘misfire’ when trying to win — and keep — business.  The observations are based on my experiences as a General Counsel ‘client’ who has selected and worked with hundreds of law firms over the years. So, let’s turn to…

The $30,000 Memo

Sometimes the client wants to buy experience.

My company was planning to sign a major contract negotiated by the Legal Team I headed.  The negotiations had been arduous [that’s what happens when the other side has all the power], yet we’d managed to protect the company from an unreasonable amount of liability.

Or had we? Continue reading


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Free-Range Chickens? Good. Free-Range References? Not.

Let’s imagine you really want that job.  Then let’s imagine your ‘dream employer’ remains interested enough in you to ask for references.

If you’re like most people who ask me to fill the reference role, you’ll send an e-mail that reads something like this:  ‘Hi, [reference’s name] — I’m interviewing for a position as [X] at [Company Y].  May I use you as a reference?  [Company Y’s HR Director] will be calling you.  Thanks!’

Oh, really?

There are several things wrong with this picture. Let me list the ‘biggies’: Continue reading