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Christine Morganti
(505) 797-6028
cmorganti@nmbar.org

Gerald Riskin Gives State Bar Advice on Becoming a Client Magnet

Best-selling author of the ABA publication The Successful Lawyer, Gerald Riskin gave law practice management strategies to attendees on July 10 at the State Bar Annual Meeting at the Buffalo Thunder Resort in Santa Fe. Riskin is the co-founder and partner of Edge International, a management consulting firm.

Becoming a Client Magnet, Riskin's most recent book and DVD, set the stage for his presentation on building a law practice and relating to clients. The audience related to his entertaining comparison of their mindsets as attorneys compared with the mindset of a successful business person. Riskin pointed out that lawyers are ferociously independent, critical and analytical, tense, perfectionists, never finished and never feel as if they have prepared enough. Business people, he noted, believe that 66 percent accuracy is awesome, have a group vision, are creative, manage projects, and believe it is OK to make mistakes. According to Riskin they are also are creating the next version of something before they have completed the version they are about to launch.

"By the time a lawyer finishes, the competition will have stolen the client," emphasized Riskin, to the amusement of his audience.

Riskin stated that law firms can bulletproof themselves against predator firms to protect existing clients by taking a few steps to build relationships. According to Riskin, 30 percent of clients refer friends and colleagues to the firm so when a firm loses a client, they lose referrals and credibility exponentially.

Riskin advised attendees to periodically visit clients' offices with the sole purpose of ascertaining client needs.

"Ask smart questions that show you have been paying attention to their business," he said. "Be prepared for the meeting and rehearse your questions with a colleague."

In closing, Riskin stressed that lawyers should know how to differentiate themselves from others who practice in the same areas of law.