I am an avid reader of the website Lifehacker. Every day, there are new posts on an incredible range of topics with the single goal of making life easier. Yesterday, for example, there were hacks on communicating with seniors, peeling hardboiled eggs, getting roadside assistance for your bicycle and applying the GTD philosophy in dealing with your emails.
Lifehacker absolutely lives up to its motto:
Tips, tricks, and downloads for getting things done.
I’ve noticed that Lifehacker has a way of pinpointing issues in my daily life that I’ve not yet identified as issues, and in many cases, may never have identified as needing attention.
This leads me to think about preventative lawyering and wonder why don’t more lawyers approach their clients in this way, providing helpful tips and easy to implement strategies to make their clients’ lives easier? Delivering proactive assistance and advice to improve or enhance a client’s business or personal affairs can create a whole lot of goodwill and help to strengthen an existing lawyer-client relationship.
Lee Rosen, a North Carolina lawyer, recently blogged about the networking benefits of doing small favours or going out of your way to help a contact, or a contact’s children, noting that such efforts can cement a relationship and ensure you’ll be front of mind when that contact encounters a legal issue. This isn’t so different than delivering the sort of helpful information and advice you might find on a site like Lifehacker or that you might provide on your own website or in client communications.
Taking a proactive approach to your clients’ legal health not only serves a potentially effective marketing function but can also aid in bridging the access to justice gap. The Final Report of the CBA’s access to justice initiative, Reaching Equal Justice, recommends that individuals get legal health check-ups and makes the point that:
Initiatives that focus on legal health advance our capacity to prevent legal problems and build resilience to future or recurring legal problems. Just as the health system aims to both prevent and treat disease, so too the justice system should aim to prevent legal problems in addition to providing assistance when they arise.
Helpfully, Legal Health Check forms are now available via the initiative website.
I’m not aware of a legal-hacks website for current or future consumers of legal services, but would love to hear from you if you know of one. It seems to me to be an idea whose time has come.