Gilles Thieffry on How to Please Clients

Gilles Thieffry is the founding partner of GTLaw (created in 2007). Prior to GTLaw he served as partner for a firm in Geneva, Switzerland, and for two major London firms in London specializing in finance. Thieffry is a member of the New York Bar, the Paris Bar, the Law Society of England and Wales, and the Geneva Bar. He has been referred to by clients as “a consummate professional” and by colleagues as a fine lawyer with a great “approach to customer relations.”

Interviewer: What’s the best strategy to please clients?

Thieffry: It depends on the client, but generally speaking, communication is probably the most essential skill. Acting as counsel to a client, after all, is about solving problems, not creating new ones. If you’re unable to articulate your solution or unable to understand your client’s problems, then you’re very likely to upset the relationship.

Interviewer: What do you mean by “relationship”?

Thieffry: The connection between people in my profession and their clients is like any other relationship—it is based on trust, and in order to earn and maintain that trust, a client must be kept informed of progress. The lines of communication must be kept open, instead of intermittently open and then closed. When lines of communication are kept open on both sides, that is a genuine relationship between client and professional.

Interviewer: How do you keep those lines open?

Thieffry: Reassure your client that you are there for them. Checking in often by email or phone is important, especially because in the business world, a problem can change significantly from one week or even one day to the next. Also, and this may sound elementary, it is essential to cultivate a professional attitude, appearance, and manner. Clients will make snap judgments based on their first impression of those three criteria.

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About gillesthieffry

includes working as lawyer in the Office of the General Counsel at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London; a Partner at Norton Rose LLP, also in London; a Partner and the head of capital markets at Arthur Andersen LLP.
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