Attorneys love only two things more than winning a big case – the celebratory eating and drinking that comes afterwards. Whether you’re in the early, middle or trial stage of a case, if your attorney-client offers to take you to lunch or dinner, go! It’s a great chance to build a rapport and get to know the attorney better.
While you’re having a good time, it helps to remember that the attorney will learn things about you, just as you will learn things about him. So, here are a few important tips:
Never order the most expensive thing on the menu. It makes you appear greedy or entitled. Follow the attorney’s lead. You don’t want to be drinking by yourself or eating dessert alone (even if you eat it first). Likewise, if they are celebrating big and living large – go for it! Don’t you hate dining with an anorexic who eats only lettuce or spends the meal pushing food around the plate? Attorneys do too. I’ve celebrated huge wins with attorney-clients at restaurants where the dinner and wine bill was higher than my mortgage payment. If you can’t enjoy that kind of evening it’s best to decline the invite rather than rain on their parade.
Monitor your alcohol intake. While it’s perfectly appropriate to have a drink if the attorney does, you want to be known for your skills as a CLNC® consultant, not for your skills at doing Jell-O shots or as a drinking buddy. On several occasions I’ve sat for three hours with attorneys, while sipping very, very small amounts of wine. That’s the only way I’ve been able to walk away from the table.
Eating with your attorney-clients can also bond you in unexpected ways. I was at lunch with two attorneys and got spaghetti sauce all over my jacket. While I was quietly fretting, one of the attorneys turned to me and said, “Vickie, you’re one of us now! If I don’t end up with some food on my tie I know I haven’t enjoyed my meal.” We all had a good laugh over that experience. But more importantly, I read between the lines – now I was one of them. Who would have thought that ordering spaghetti and meatballs was a strategy for CLNC® success?
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your favorite tips for dining with attorney-clients.