Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

How to Gain – and Keep – Your Client’s Trust

It’s hard enough to keep clients happy when their case is going well; it can be a nightmare when things go south.

The key is to build a solid base of trust and compassion on which the attorney-client relationship rests. If that foundation is secure, it will withstand tough times.

There are four essential elements to building a trustworthy brand, according to research from Harvard Business School:

  1. The law firm must deliver a product or service on time, with technical authority, and in a way that makes clients feel confident in their choice of attorney.
  2. The law firm must communicate its company mission and interests beyond the balance sheet. What are the values that drive your firm beyond financial results?
  3. The law firm must develop business methods that are equitable for employees. Are you treating your team well and communicating transparently with the public?
  4. The law firm must create positive outcomes through its practices and actions.

In their new book The Power of Trust: How Companies Build It, Lose It, Regain It, a pair of Harvard Business School researchers highlight companies that have either successfully earned the trust of consumers or have made a mess of it. They use case studies to offer suggestions on maintaining customer trust and loyalty, as summarized in the above four principles.

The practice of law is always changing. But for lawyers in North Carolina, one thing has remained constant for nearly 40 years. Lawyers Mutual is here for you at every stage of your law career: from your first day on the job to your last day before retirement. Our Byte of Prevention blog features industry news, tips and valuable links on everything from work-life balance to winding down your practice. Our email newsletter “Practice Reimagined” brings cutting-edge insights straight to your in-box. And our skilled team of underwriters, claims counsel and risk management professionals are by your side when you need us most. Lawyers helping lawyers. It’s who we are, and it’s what we’ve been doing since 1977.


How to Rebuild Trust When it Has Been Lost

The following suggestions are from “How to Regain the Trust of Your Customers” in the US Chamber of Commerce newsletter CO 

  • Start with a sincere apology. Studies show customer satisfaction increases up to 15 percent simply by apologizing.
  • Communicate transparently. Don’t confuse matters with gobbledygook.
  • Be patient. It may take a sustained history of improved behavior to make up for one error.
  • Follow your client’s lead. Ask what it would take to regain their trust.
  • Act quickly. Don’t let a bad situation simmer.
  • Show compassion. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  • Keep your promises. Nothing will destroy trust quicker than a broken promise.

Source: How to Regain the Trust of Your Customers (


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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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