Defend Like Lawyers

Now that Bankers have placed themselves at the top of the ‘most hated profession’ tree, lawyers have slipped down a notch or two. Let’s not completely forget about them though. I have a couple of friends that work in the legal environment. When they chuckle that they charge £150 for an hour of “background reading”, they instantly realise that they’ve let their guard down and forcefully remind you of their enormous overheads.

In a delightful old-style juicer purveying only Sam Smiths in London’s West End recently, I asked a litigation expert pal of mine how often his brethren had their fees questioned. His response was startling. It doesn’t appear to happen all that often, but when it does, lawyers never, ever concede.

They always stand up for their charges. When I asked whether this was just hearsay, my mate informed me that it was solid policy, everywhere, but don’t expect to see a formal document detailing it, as lawyers are far too clever to write such a thing as that down.

Upon further cross-examination, I found that the two chief reasons for defending fees with such vigour (beyond the obvious revenue protection motives) are:

1. to cave in would be an admission that they are not providing value for money, and
2. people could infer that their services could always be cheaper

How many times have I seen salespeople panic into hurriedly giving the shop, and vital margin, away, purely to bring a rapid cessation to negative conversations? Perhaps if we all began with a lawyer’s stance, we might keep some hard-earned commission.

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