This is not true. Especially for attorneys.


A question was asked on social about “unknown truths” everyone should know. An “expert” supplied several examples, including this one: 

“People don’t care about your hard work. They just care about the end result.” 

But that’s not always true.

If an attorney settles a case for a client for $300,000 and bills the client $10,000, the client may be thrilled if they were expecting to pay a lot more. But what if the attorney tells the client it only took him ten minutes to get that settlement? (Because he’s smart, experienced, had inside information, plays golf with opposing counsel…) 

Is the client just as happy? 

Maybe. Maybe not. 

The client got a great outcome but might have a problem being charged the equivalent of $60,000 an hour. 

Because most clients equate value with effort.

They might care mostly about the end result but they want to see that you worked hard for them, argued for them, put in a lot of time, prepared a lot of documents, nearly got eaten before you slayed the dragon, and otherwise “earned” your fee. 

They don’t want to hear that you made one phone call. 

It’s like going to a movie. You may like the happy ending but you like it more because there was a lot of conflict leading up to it.  

Am I saying that practicing law is like making movies? 

Yes, actually, I am. Both have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And both involve an emotional journey. 

You want your clients to enjoy the movie. So, figure out a way to take them on an emotional journey. 

You might explain everything that could have gone wrong, even though it didn’t. You might talk to them about the many things you’ve done in the past that contributed to your ability to settle their case so quickly. 

My vote? Don’t tell them you settled so quickly.

You’re the hero of the movie. Don’t spoil it for them.