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Transparency & authenticity in a law firm - thoughts & cartoons!

View profile for David Gilroy
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Are these two things possible? Can a law firm be outwardly transparent and authentic when they are not so internally?  Now, don’t get me wrong it would be easy to tar all firms with the same brush and that’s not my intention.  How about the following ideas to help your firm be more transparent.

  • Giving your clients the information they need - and more importantly WHEN they need it.  If you know the job you are doing is running late, tell them.  If someone tells you something which materially impacts the matter on which you are working, but “technically” it’s not your job to tell your client, tell them.  People tend not to shoot the messenger.
  • If you have to say it - yep, you guessed it.  If you about us page or your mission statement has to say things like we value transparency….” then I don’t believe you.  You have to show me in what you say and do (see link to Underwoods below).  Words on a page are just not going to cut it any more.
  • Sharing honest client feedback - whether good or bad.  Another example. I know law firms who share their file review stats on their website ( and no, the numbers are not always 100%!
  • Have an opinion - but also stay open to other views.  Sharing views on social media platforms is important, but prefacing everything with some kind of legal disclaimer just gets boring.  I often get emails from people where the disclaimer is longer than the email itself!
  • Be timely and responsive - yep, that old chestnut again.  If you say the client will have it by 5pm on Thursday, then get it to them by 5pm on Thursday.
  • Think "community" - Nowadays with the prevalence of social media none of us can or should operate as an island. Transparency means creating community (and being part of your local community), giving credit, and being caring (for your employees, your clients and other stakeholders).

Now, on a lighter note, I love these two cartoons from Tom Fishburne who is a brilliant business cartoonist.  The first one made me really chuckle.  I got asked by the Managing Partner of one of our clients recently what I thought of her marketing exec, so I told her.  She nodded and smiled in an agreeable kind of way…..and I was NOT positive about the person!

The second cartoon was from last year, if you have to TELL a marketing agency that you are transparent and authentic then…..well, you can guess the rest!

Being authentic about a client's marketing team

Having to brief in authenticity

It’s worth following the links from Tom’s blog post.