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  • Harry F. Bell, Jr., Esq.

The lawyer as a salesman: Why business always matters

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

We like stories. Storytelling helps people understand and relate in many areas. I’m reminded of a case decades ago from which I as a young defense lawyer learned so much. Defending a large gas company in a tragic wrongful death case with a contract drilling company as co-defendant, I was in the deposition of my client’s COO. We did well in the plaintiff’s portion, but then co-defense counsel, hired by the insurance carrier, an older and well-respected lawyer from a large firm, had his turn. With a zealous examination, he attempted to deflect responsibility from his client to mine. After the deposition my client took me aside and was critical of the co-defense counsel’s actions. While the case resulted in a joint settlement to a grieving young widow where each defendant paid, my client shared something else. They were embarking upon a new drilling program, spending millions with contract drillers in West Virginia and surrounding states. My client said in no way would that contract driller get one cent of business again. That was a lesson I learned as a young lawyer that served me and my clients well in later years. For many years afterward when defending many automotive manufacturers and distributors I always recalled that lesson. Numerous cases, while zealously and ethically defended, were also done from the perspective that while my clients had thousands of cars and customers, in many cases millions, in each and every individual case, I knew the plaintiffs, those individuals who had brought suit over their frustrations and concerns about their cars and trucks. To them, I was the manufacturer. How I handled the case and how I treated them and their counsel in many instances would dictate whether they would stay a repeat customer or whether they would leave, eroding brand loyalty and what goodwill the manufacturer had built up. So many times knowing this and putting forth extra effort, even helping them look at new cars and trucks, resulted in keeping them as customers going forward. It’s always about business: Relationships, sales and engagement are tools that good lawyers use to not only resolve the litigation but also to engage again on a positive basis, which benefits the company long term. The lessons learned as a young lawyer carry forward today in not only law but in our digital marketing world.

At AHM we always strive to bring a connection which ultimately results in a favorable relationship which translates to the bottom line. If we can help your enterprise reach out and we’ll start a relationship.

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