May 20, 2009

Why must we lower our professional standards?

When you sell hot dogs or whatever local delicacies by the roadside, you get paid in cash and you will easily divide the cost for whatever you are selling the next day and the profit. You will know whether you make a profit there and then. Not so when what you sell cannot be seen as a good. I just use what is in my head and what is called professional skills. Sportsmen are called professionals too but their medals and their score are the proof that they have done a good job. A lawyer who goes to court and made sure his client did not die in the electric chair or at the gallow has done a good job.

Then what about lawyers such as me who ply our ware by developing documents from scratch and sell it to those who need it and because the language is understood, the client will turn to us and say, "This is good but I think I could have done it myself". 

That is not the best part which is the part where the client suddenly has a training in drafting. 

The best part is when they suddenly say, "So, how much of a discount can you give me? My son is taking law in London you know. And why are you charging me so high when my other lawyer never charged me this high".

This happened to my partner who was handling a transaction worth millions courtesy of one of the banks which we are a panel of. The so-called VIP client was courted for months with my partner dining at his restaurant and getting to know him more than she need to as the loan taken from our client-banker was for the working capital for his chain of restaurants. It was not really that big of a deal as my partner already frequented one of his restaurant but this time she did her part in ensuring she gets to know the client properly before attending to his loan transaction. 

When she confronted by the client with the said questions, she blew her top. She asked back a simple question whether he really knew the worth of a lawyer work? If he didn't, why did he sent his only son to become a lawyer. If it is so easy to do just that, why did he sent him to London and spent so much money on his son education. Shouldn't he be understand the worth of the work she did for him?

Alas, he is too jaded to be perturbed by my partner's outburst. He just waived it off and still ask for a discount. We kept to our guns and explained to him what we have done for him and the difference between the loan we did with what his other lawyers had done. We managed to collect the fee with minimal discount.

I wonder whether other professionals have the same problem too?

3 comments:

Ratty said...

Wow, I just read a very similar thing in the book, "The Fountainhead". This book was written in the 1940's about an architect here in the US. It's a fictional story, but not many people know it was based on some real things that happened. So I guess this kind of thing happens way too often, and for a long time.

Lisalicious said...

well those stuff happens in IT world as well

i guess very common and normal but totally irritating!

kruel74 said...

Just one of the challenge all professionals have to contend with I guess

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