Client service. I’ve spent lots of time lately thinking about client service. Perhaps it’s the recent news Walgreens received an $80 Million fine after allegations the chain allowed huge numbers of dangerous narcotic painkillers on the black market. Maybe you are asking – What does this fine have to do with my thoughts on client service? After all, the pharmacy business and legal business are very different. While different in many ways, both are professional businesses. Both businesses should help people in need. For both, patients (or clients) seek professionals who will provide guidance and expertise.
Does anyone really think flooding the market with narcotic pain pills serves patients and communities? Absolutely not. It only serves the need for fast profit. But, I did not write this to pick on Walgreens. And, let’s be clear — the fine related to the chain’s misconduct outside Alabama. Yet, issues with thousands upon thousands of unaccounted narcotic pills give me pause.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve had the pleasure of representing several independent pharmacies in the Huntsville area. So, I’ve learned a little about this business. Standing in one of these independent pharmacy stores, I see a pharmacist who knows each customer by name. Each customer matters to him. The pharmacist greets each customer. His pharmacy is a personal business helping patients. It’s NO assembly line of pill dispensing. Can you say the same for some large chains?
Pharmacy patients need good advice concerning medication dosages, drug interactions, and other health issues. These independent stores hired my co-counsel and I when they were denied the opportunity by a large PBM (pharmacy benefits manager) to continue serving certain long-standing patients. I’ve spoken with some of these patients. They value this professional service and advice.
What does this have to do with the legal profession? What does this have to do with my practice areas? After all, I represent individuals in Alabama personal injury cases and, also, small businesses in damages cases? Well, a lot! Like medications, it’s the difference between blindly dispensing a product versus helping each individual with professional care. A true professional, like my pharmacist client, uses his or her education and training to help their clients or patients. A true professional also knows each client is unique.
Every day, I see lawyer ads on television. In some ads, these guys even dress in capes or stand on top of large trucks. Theatrics aside, the real problem of these advertising personalities is their promise of quick money for nothing. They promise fast cash. They even promise they will keep you out of court. Keep you out of court? I understand normal people prefer to avoid court. Most normal people prefer to avoid war as well.
Yet, justice demands both preparation and a willingness to go to court when necessary. The guys flying around in capes on TV are not willing, and usually not able, to prepare their clients’ cases. That is a lack of service. It is a lack of value. In the end, that settlement mill process fails clients by not providing them the fullest benefits of a lawyer. If you think otherwise, just look at the smile on the insurance adjuster’s face when he sees these TV lawyers. That adjuster knows any settlement with these TV personalities will be for less than justice demands. That’s the opposite of client service. Injured people deserve better.