The Art of Being Discrete


How well do you know your clients? Sure, you may know where they work and what they do, but have you ever paid them a visit at their workplace? Of course, your clients probably visit you at your office, and not the other way around. After all, when someone needs a lawyer, usually trouble is a foot, and most people prefer a discrete consultation in their lawyer’s private office rather than a more public chat in their own cubicle in front of their co-workers.

Well, as it turns out, you probably have visited your clients at their workplace, that is if you have a law firm Web site. A quick scan of your Web site statistics should tell you whether your visitors are browsing during the weekday when they are at work or during nights and weekends when they are at home. If your visitors are coming to your Web site during working hours, you should make sure that your Web site exhibits the same level of discretion that you would show if you were visiting them at their workplace.

For example, if you walked into the lobby at your client’s office, asked the receptionist for your client, and then casually mentioned that you were his attorney and were meeting him to discuss his recent arrest for spousal abuse, what do you think would happen? First, all his co-workers will think he’s a wife beater. While this may or may not cost him his job, it will most certainly cause you your job. Your client will fire you at the his earliest opportunity for your lack of discretion.

This leads us to your Web site. Do not place any flash, audio or video file on your law firm Web site that will potentially embarrass your client if his co-workers would happen to overhear. Your client may not want his co-workers to know that he is seeking a divorce, was cited for drunk driving, was arrested for burglary and a bunch of other unpleasant details. If he wants to share this with his co-workers, then it is up to him. Until then, don’t let your Web site broadcast the nature of his problems around the office.

Be discrete. Be trustworthy.