Noah Samuels is the Executive Director for The Northwest Consumer Law Center, and we just finished speaking about what we are doing to provide low-bono legal services to people of moderate means.
FYI: Low-bono is a playful way of saying low cost legal help.
Noah and I discussed how trust is paramount when serving clients who may not be familiar with American culture and custom. My strategy is to familiarize myself with my criminal defense clients like a friend would, and in order to establish rapport, I also share some details about myself. A lot of lawyers gasp at the thought of opening up to their clients!
But there is one thing you have to understand: the populations of people we are serving are constantly targeted by scammers and sharks that want to take advantage of people in desperate situations. As a result, people of moderate means, especially immigrants, have become very wary of any outside assistance. These individuals sometimes are foregoing finding professional help because they are afraid of getting taken advantage of.
Serving low-bono clients requires different strategies and understandings. We as lawyers need to rethink how we are communicating with prospective clients and retool our practices so that we can better reach people that need our help.
Shout out to Noah for the chat. Have questions about home-ownership, foreclosure, bankruptcy, debt collection, or student loans? The Northwest Consumer Law Center is there for you.
I am a criminal defense lawyer in Seattle, Washington. Interested in chatting? Email me, connect with me on Twitter, or sign up for my monthly newsletter. In the Five Minutes newsletter, I share five minutes of thoughts from young business owners, professionals and people passionate in their work.