Core Concepts

Relationship principles between members of the legal profession
and the real world.

Core Concept #1*
90% of your clients judge you professionally by standards different from those
by which you judge yourself.

Core Concept #2
Clients do not 'buy' or 'receive' legal services, they experience them.

Core Concept # 3
A client's satisfaction is experience measured by expectation.

Core Concept #4
The satisfaction equation does not have to make sense to you to be
operational in your clients.

Core Concept #5
Clients come back or don't, recommend or grieve, based on their level of satisfaction.

Core Concept #6
A lawyer's professional reputation with clients is more closely related to satisfaction
than to case outcome; with other lawyers, it is the other way around.

Core Concept #7
We all need to resolve ambiguity and uncertainty. The underlying circumstances of
legal services are often ambiguous and/or uncertain.

Core Concept #8
We all tend to resolve ambiguity and uncertainty consistent with preexisting positions,
expectations or desires.

Core Concept #9
We participate in our client's legal service experience. To consciously improve it, we
need to understand client experiences and expectations from their standpoint.

Core Concept #10
The legal service experience is, at best, only partially intellectual. The nonintellectual
portion is often determinative of the client's satisfaction.

Core Concept #11
The personal and professional satisfaction you enjoy from the practice of law is directly
related, and often directly proportional, to the satisfaction level of your clients.


These Core Concepts are written in the nomenclature of the general practitioner. They apply in varying degrees to all attorney - client relationships where the client has choice in the selection of a legal service provider and where the legal services impact the client directly. Lack of the impact factor excludes legal services for a unit of government where the legal service acquisition decision-maker is not directly effected by the services. (An example would be elected prosecutors.)

Financial issues are not specifically identified for two reasons. Our research shows that financial considerations are part of the expectation component of satisfaction and that clients consistently give financial issues an ordinal position no higher than fourth.

The core concepts that apply where legal services are provided to clients who are experienced and knowledgeable in legal matters (For example, insurance defense work from the standpoint of the insurance company) are similar, varying in degree more than substance.

The core concepts that apply where legal services are principally ministerial in nature (For example, real estate closing documents for a corporate lender) are modified in that there is less uncertainty or ambiguity attendant to the matter. Where the recipient of the services does not select the legal service provider (For example, public defender assignments or insurance defense work from the standpoint of the insured) the concepts describe the relationship. The exception is that the satisfaction of the client is only important to the attorney's income stream to the extent that the gatekeeper considers client satisfaction.

When considering core concepts for large firm or corporate legal work, these principles apply, but added to them are factors that consider the alignment of vision, mission and task between the attorney/firm and client.

The final distinguishing categories of relationship are where the client selects a legal service provider due to guild considerations (For example, in states where only attorneys can appear in court for third party litigants and thus attorneys do small claims case appearances for collection agencies) or for liability considerations (either to off-load liability or in firewall situations) modify these principles primarily in terms of emphasis rather than substance.

* Core Concepts are numbered primarily for ease of reference in other parts of the site.


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1332 South 26th Street
Manitowoc, WI 54220
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