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How to Be a Silver Platter Lawyer

by Jay Reeves |

Do you deliver client service on a silver platter or in a crumpled paper bag? 

The answer could determine whether your law practice is soaring or stagnant.

As an illustration, consider the following Tale of Two Glasses.


Act One: The Special Spectacles

One recent morning, I woke to the gloomy realization that the world outside had grown cloudy and incomprehensible. The problem of course was not my life but my lenses. So off I stumbled to my friendly neighborhood eye doctor, where I was told I needed bifocals. 

“But aren’t those for old people?” 

“Oh no,” said my twenty-something Optical Solutions Strategist, a kind soul who knew full well I came from ancient times when Ike was president, Elvis was a minor, and hula hoops were a thing. “They’re for everybody.”

Returning a week later, I was greeted cheerily, escorted to a tastefully decorated room and offered a tempting selection of herbal teas. As I sipped a cup of wolfberry and rose hips, my Optical Solutions Strategist appeared, this time trailed by an Assistant Optical Solutions Strategist solemnly bearing my Brand New Bifocals on a silver tray.

A hush descended as this dynamic eyecare duo affixed the eyewear to my face and – with fingers light as feathers – made fussily precise adjustments to the frame and nosepiece.

“Ooh,” said the Optical Solutions Strategist, admiring the new me. 

“Aah,” said the Assistant Optical Solutions Strategist, even more admiringly.

“Wow,” said I, swooning over all this attention. “Can I have another cup of tea?”

I would have stayed all day if they hadn’t eventually kicked me out.


Act Two: The Not-so-Special Spectacles

In a somewhat less visionary moment, I ordered a pair of sunglasses on eBay that promised to turn me into George Clooney. They arrived late, in a ripped and wrinkled envelope that had been mistakenly delivered to my neighbor because the handwritten address was barely legible. Inside were not the “Sleek, Stylish Shades” I was expecting, but a flimsy, child-sized absurdity that made me look clownish, not Clooneyish.

The good news: after a week or two on hold with a customer service representative, I got my money back. 

Even better news: with my Brand New Bifocals I could now read the tiny-font customer reviews before making my next online purchase.


Act Three: I Can See Clearly Now
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself: what does George Clooney and organic tea have to do with practicing law? And the answer is: everything.

As lawyers, we can get so wrapped up in the process that we overlook the people. But people are the whole point. They’re the lifeblood. And they love – and deserve – A-list treatment.

Want to deliver service on a silver platter? Follow these four steps:

  1. Don’t overthink it; simply treat your clients the way you like to be treated.
  2. See them, hear them, be there for them.
  3. Thank them for choosing you – and placing their trust in you.
  4. Listen to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by James Brown at least once daily. 

Remember: four out of 10 customers stop doing business with a company after a single bad experience. Unhappy clients disappear like ghosts, taking their repeat business and referrals elsewhere, and you may never know why.

So keep your clients happy. You don’t need shiny platters or chamomile tea. Just do your best and show them you care. Before long, the Law Life you’ve dreamed of will come into 20/20 focus.


Law Life Thought for the Day: “Strive not to be a great success, but rather to be of great value.” Albert Einstein

Law Life List #1: Top 5 songs by The Platters: (1) The Great Pretender (2) Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (3) My Prayer (4) Only You (5) You’ve Got the Magic Touch

Law Life List #2: Top 10 George Clooney movies: (1) Gravity (2) Fantastic Mr. Fox (3) The Descendants (4) Good Night, and Good Luck (5) Up in the Air (6) Out of Sight (7) The Thin Red Line (8) Three Kings (9) Michael Clayton (10) Ocean’s Eleven [Source: imbd Metascore Review Rankings]


Jay Reeves practiced law for nearly 40 years in North and South Carolina. He has never been mistaken for George Clooney. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World and runs Your Law Life LLC. He is available for talks, presentations and in-house Zoom sessions. Contact jay@yourlawlife.com.

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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