I expect that “honest” would not be the first word that comes to mind as a general description of the business culture in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter. The idea of “buyer beware” (or “caveat emptor” as we lawyers like to say) is well ingrained in our business culture, and we all expect businesses to create “spin” when they market their goods and services.
Legend has it that years ago in Toronto there was a law firm which embarked on what was then a somewhat unusual exercise. At the urging of their marketing consultant, this firm surveyed their clients to ask them what they thought of how the law firm delivered its services.
Young lawyers often think that there is some magic secret to building a client base, and that marketing is a mysterious and complicated endeavour. I disagree, and I say that as a lawyer who did not really “get” marketing until I had been practicing for quite a long time.
Early in my career, a senior partner in my firm, who I will call Greg, was arguing with the managing partner of the firm because the managing partner wanted Greg to fire one of Greg’s clients.
I once had a law partner named Marvin who taught me what he called the “fish theory” of marketing. According to Marvin, marketing was simply a matter of throwing a fish back to every referral source who threw a fish to you. If you were referred a file from someone, you owed that person a file, and so it went.
(About the Marketing Thing)
New lawyers have a lot to learn about both the law, and how to practice law. Typically doing that will take up their entire workday, and then some.
I once had a partner named George. George had many very loyal clients, and I asked him to explain to me how he did it. This is one of the lessons which George taught me and which I integrated into my own philosophy about being an effective lawyer.
There is an easy way and a hard way to develop a good client base in the legal profession. The hard way is to work extremely long hours and be phenomenally good at what you do. I have met a few people who have done it this way, but not very many.