The Coonley Law Firm Guarantees Its Work
I am interested in solving problems (or preventing future ones) based on agreed terms set forth at the onset of the attorney/client relationship. One of my terms that I feel strongly about is that I guarantee my client’s satisfaction or their "Money" means a medium of exchange currently authorized or a... back.
Business on a Handshake
Almost every new client I have agreed to represent, I have done so on a handshake. Typically I ask for only a fraction of the estimated cost for my services up front. I routinely send unfinished documents to clients for review prior to taking the time to finalize them as a way to keep the client informed of my progress and to get their input. I don’t mind picking up the phone to discuss what’s on their mind, and it doesn’t bother me to accommodate unusual schedules or requests. The reason for my willingness to be nontraditional is that I truly like my clients and I want them to succeed. My clients are generally honest, upfront, and respectful. As such, I want to make sure that they never feel cheated and in doing so, I make them all the same guarantee, I tell them the following:
“If you ever feel like you haven’t received the full value of the services I’ve provided compared to what I’ve charged, I ask that you allow me to explain what I did, and why it needed to be done. After you have heard my explanation, you are free to pay whatever you think is fair and I’ll accept it.”
This guarantee doesn’t mean that I don’t clearly outline my billing structure/rates ahead of time, nor does it mean that I don’t do my best to give accurate estimates. It’s simply an acknowledgment that legal services are subjective in value and just because there is mutual "Agreement," as distinguished from "contract," means the bar... as to approximate price and service ahead of time, there may be some other factor which leaves the client unsatisfied after the fact. For comparison, a restaurant takes back bad dishes, car dealers/manufacturers offer warranties and replace lemons, and manufacturers allow bad products to be returned for a refund – in all of these examples both price and product were disclosed and agreed upon prior to the dissatisfaction. The Coonley Law Firm is no different in that it stands behind its work just as any other reputable "Business" means a trade, occupation, profession, or other c... stands behind its product.
Clients as Partners
A business attorney doesn’t look at a client as a transaction (the way a personal injury or divorce attorney may). Rather, we look at a client as a lifelong partner. That is, businesses can run into legal issues on a frequent basis. Why would a business "Owner," for purposes of Title 1, 7, or 8, means: (A) with ... want to create another potentially contentious relationship that will further complicate his/her life when there is no need? Conversely, why would an attorney want to create a long-term relationship with a client who is going to nitpick, make unrealistic demands, and complain? There is no reason to “stay married” to your attorney if you are unhappy, and there is no reason for an attorney to have clients they aren’t going to get along with. This is why I see my clients as partners, and like all good partnerships, communication is key.
The policy of offering up to a full refund sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, right? Why would anybody ever adopt this policy – particularly why would they advertise it even if they had? The reason I make this known is I believe people are by and large good. I’ve been in practice for several years. In that time, I haven’t been paid (in whole or in part) on invoices less than a dozen times. Generally when this happens, the people are either 1) dishonest and looking to take advantage of the generosity of others – in which case I don’t lose too much sleep because eventually, this mentality will catch up with them; or 2) truly unsatisfied with the work that has been provided (in which case I try my best to correct the work to their satisfaction). In my time in practice I have (as of the date that this post was published) only encountered one client who wasn’t satisfied with my work and took it up with me. In that situation, I offered to make changes to the work I had done for them free of charge, and they declined. I then asked them what it is I could do to make the situation right in their eyes – and they declined to give specifics. Last, I asked them what they thought was fair for what I had already done, and they made me an offer which I accepted.
At the end of the day, I want to do everything in my power to help my clients and their businesses succeed, plain and simple.