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Experience

This year, I checked an item from my bucket list. I went to Monaco to attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix. For race fans, Monaco does not typically offer the best racing on the calendar (fortunately, this year, it had an exciting ending), but there is an allure that has pulled fans to the Mediterranean for the last 80 years. I bookended the summer with a trip to the Brighton Speedway in eastern Ontario to take in an evening of dirt track racing, including the ever-popular min-van race. You could say the very opposite of Formula 1.

At one extreme, Monaco is one of the most expensive and sought-after tickets on the Formula 1 calendar that must be booked nearly a year in advance. Brighton Speedway is the other extreme, where tickets are available on race day and where a family can enjoy an evening of food and entertainment for less than it would cost to go to a movie.

In professional services, we need to remember that experience is everything.

When working on bet-the-farm litigation or a billion-dollar M&A deal, our focus on the work can be so profound that we forget to make the experience memorable. Conversely, while working on a misdemeanour or relatively typical transaction, we may forget that our mundane may be incredibly stressful for our client.

It is easy to lose focus on the client when you want to finish the task. We need to remember that our clients do not know the law. They do not understand why one part of a transaction may resolved quickly, and others take considerably longer. Sometimes, an update to say there is no update can be the most essential message of your day.

Our clients have ways of telling you that they did not enjoy working together. It could be a bad review, reduced work or stop recommending you. Often, we don’t even know it is happening until it is too late. A significant part of professional services is making the client feel special and the experience positive, an area the racing world has figured out.

The glamour, the yachts, and the Mediterranean make Monaco truly a place of champagne wishes and caviar dreams. Brighton Speedway is beer, hot dogs, and glorious summer nights. Two extremes of experience, both offering fans the opportunity to watch live racing. I loved them both for very different reasons.

In law, just like in racing, the action matters, but so does the experience.

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