One of our values at Gardner Leader, in fact the first in the list, is that what we sell is peace of mind. It seems obvious to me, but I have been surprised by how many people have said it is not something they would associate with lawyers generally. For us, it is the core of our service.
People come to us for many reasons. Some are positive things – buying a house or a business, setting up a trust for grandchildren, or entering into commercial agreements to grow their business. Inevitably some are less positive – fighting a dispute, handling the estate of a deceased relative or getting divorced. What they all have in common, even the positive issues, is that there is a certain amount of stress involved.
When people come to us they want to know that we will take the time to understand what they are trying to achieve and that we will then, as far as possible, take away the stress of making it happen. We can only offer peace of mind by listening and communicating effectively, understanding what matters to the client, explaining what needs to be done and working with them as a team to achieve their objectives. Sometimes it will simply not be possible to get the result the client wants – in which case, peace of mind is about explaining why that is and trying to work out an alternative plan.
With all the uncertainty around at the moment, that peace of mind message becomes even more important. It could be a long time before any of us really know what is going to happen as a result of Brexit and how it will affect us as individuals and businesses. We see our role as helping our clients make a realistic assessment of what is going on and providing objective information as it becomes available.
We always encourage our clients to pick up the phone to us for a ‘no commitment’ chat when they think an issue might be on the horizon. That helps us to understand them better, and often a few pointers at an early stage can stop them going down the wrong track. If it looks like they do need more specific help from us, then another part of giving them peace of mind is to work with them to give them different pricing options for any work they may want us to do, so that they can choose one they are comfortable with.
As the former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once memorably pointed out – we probably don’t even know what we don’t know yet. But by building solid relationships with our clients and remembering what it is they want from us, we aim to make the uncertainty a bit less daunting.