Practising private client law requires a unique and highly developed combination of soft skills to generate and foster relationships built on trust, experience and success. Private clients may need legal support in several personal and professional capacities, including investments, corporate and personal tax, management of their estates, trusts, wills and inheritance tax.
These clients are often high profile, wealthy individuals who have very high expectations of the professionals with whom they engage. Lawyers working for these clients need to demonstrate some exceptional skills to retain and grow the potential of each client.
1. Technical Knowledge
A Private Client Lawyer will provide their clients with advice that is designed to maintain, increase and secure their wealth and that of their dependents. To do so, Private Client Lawyers must have a deep understanding of the commercial landscape, the regulations by which they are bound and ensure that their knowledge always remains current.
Many private law clients will be high profile, wealthy individuals, some of whom may be in the public eye, or charities that operate as a business. They will need their affairs to be handled with the utmost sensitivity and to ensure that their privacy is maintained at all times.
Each client will have a unique set of individual needs and their legal advisors need to adapt their approach to ensure that these needs are met. This may include working outside of normal working hours in order to communicate with clients who are based overseas or to adjust deadlines as appropriate to support a particular strategy that is desired by a client.
4. Communication Skills
A private law practitioner needs excellent written and verbal communication skills. They will need to interpret and communicate complicated legal matters to their clients in plain English to ensure that they are entirely comfortable with any proposals made or advice given.
5. Personal Treatment
Each client will have their own unique set of requirements, from the legal matters on which they require advice, to the way in which they prefer to conduct business. In order to attract and retain these clients, a lawyer needs to deliver each client a personal level of service, accommodating their requests and ensuring that they are entirely satisfied with the service that they receive.
6. Creative Thinking
In order to maximise a client's wealth, minimise their taxation liabilities or safeguard their dependents, a Private Client Lawyer needs to employ creative thinking to ensure that they have fully considered all possible scenarios and outcomes in putting together a proposal.
As with any area of law, those working with private clients need the confidence and delegated powers to be able to act on their own initiative to secure new clients, exploit opportunities and maximise profits for their firm.
8. Commercial Awareness
Lawyers in this practice area need a thorough understanding of the commercial landscape in which they operate, including any changes or new regulations that are proposed or introduced, in order to understand the effect that they may have upon their clients' portfolios or the firm itself.
To retain high net worth clients, a Lawyer must be wholly reliable, always delivering on their promises, meeting their deadlines and communicating effectively with their clients. They must be honest, dependable and trustworthy.
10. Attention To Detail
Poor legal advice could have catastrophic ramifications for the client and the advising firm or lawyer, so attention to detail is vital. Every aspect of communication and legal advice must be double-checked for accuracy prior to submission to the client.
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