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The Guru and the Servant

Are you a guru or a servant -- and is that the right dichotomy for distinguishing between different types of lawyers? That's the question that Nathan Burke of Law Firm Blogging throws out for discussion in this post. Burke observes:

In today’s legal marketing, I often see the same split in perception/projection. There are Gurus and Servants. The Gurus are attorneys and firms that are known by name and reputation. They often charge high rates, and clients come to them. They are at an advantage in that they can pick and choose who to represent. The Servants are the attorneys and firms that focus only on client service. These firms take the opposite approach in that they go looking for clients. They convince clients that they are competent and will focus on the needs and wants of the client. In this case, the client is the expert, they attorney is just doing the legal work.

I’m drawing no value judgement here; I’m not saying one is better than the other. Sure, everyone would love to be a Guru, but one does not become a Guru by just charging a lot of money and living atop a hill. But Gurus would do well to take on some of the Servant’s commitment to service.

With so much dissatisfaction with lawyers, you might think it makes sense to be a servant rather than a guru. But I don't agree. Being a servant helps you keep clients, but developing a reputation as a guru is what gets them in the door. Lawyers need to cultivate both skills to succeed.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on September 14, 2006 at 07:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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