Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Embracing a Paradigm of Transparency: Of Lawyers, Plumbers, and Layers of Separation

Not a day goes by that I am not amazed by something. So how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? Well how many people do I have to talk to and leave messages with before I get to speak to the lawyer that called asking "me" for advice?

Just yesterday I returned a lawyer's phone call. He wanted my help. Now it doesn't matter to me whether I was returning the phone call of a doctor, lawyer, or anyone else for that matter. What matters to me was that I went from his paralegal (first bulldog) to his personal secretary (second bulldog) to voicemail to hold, you got to be kidding,,, how important was this person. I call it the VFIP, you can figure that one out on your own. Needless to say, Obviously he was more important than me because he had all these layers of protection. He was well insulated. Noone and I mean Noone was talking to him without him knowing in advance who, what, when, and how.

Who are you?
What do you want?
What is this about?

I had to answer questions at each layer, which was one, frustrating, and two, draining to me. I was mad.
Contrast that with my plumber. When you have issues with your toilet, sewer, or heat I can tell you that the plumber is very important. I will even say my plumber is more important than that lawyer I was trying to call back. A plug for Mike Mahool from M and M Plumbing, Brooktondale, NY. 607-539-7677My boiler went out on Monday, and it was very cold (in the teens outside). Anyway, Mike gives out his cell phone. Mike's regular phone line also has his cell number for "anyone" with an emergency. I called Mike, he said he would be here in an hour, and he was here in an hour, thank G-d, and he fixed my heat. Now if you have a problem you want answers, you want help, and you certainly don't want to wait or leave messages with anyone.

Yes I get telemarketers, and crazy people calling me occasionally. The same phone that communicates with my mother, my wife, and my kids also communicates with real people with real problems. I like a simple life and a simple practice. It's a choice. Quite honestly I have had the big office, and multiple assistants. I left it years ago in favor of the home/office small town combo. My clients and everyone else for that matter know me by my first name.

As my mom says, "get off your high horse." Well I got off that horse, although I must admit that I am still at times an egotistic, arrogant, blank... just without a horse. I do know what people want these days.
They want to be able to talk to the people they hire whether for fixing a roof, repairing a toilet, or taking care of a legal problem quickly and easily. Obama says he envisions a government of transparency and I seek the same in my practice, my relationships, and the communication I have with the people I serve.