I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about client service. Perhaps it is the recent news that 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 different. While different in many ways, both are professional businesses. For both, their patients/clients seek professionals who will provide guidance and expertise.
First, I’m not picking 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, does give me pause.
Over the last 2 years, I have 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. The pharmacist greets each customer. This is no assembly line of pill dispensing. These independent Alabama pharmacists run a patient-oriented business. These pharmacists not only dispense medications but provide needed health advice. 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 and they valued 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, representing primarily individuals in personal injury cases and small businesses in damages cases? Well, a lot! Anybody can dispense a product or service blindly. A true professional uses their education and training to help their client or patient.
On a daily basis I now see lawyer ads on television. In some ads, these guys even dress in capes and stand on top of large trucks. Theatrics aside, the real problem of these phony lawyers is their promise of money for nothing. They promise fast cash. They even promise that they will keep you out of court. Keep you out of court? I understand that normal people are not anxious to go to court. Most normal people are not anxious to go to war, either. Yet, justice demands both preparation and willingness to do so 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. In the end, that process fails the 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 he will write a check in an amount far less than justice demands.