How does an attorney measure success? Obviously, if you are litigator, success is measured by the wins. But “winning” is not always the proper measure of success. And for non-litigators, lawyers like me, success is far more nebulous. For some, success can be measured in terms of timeliness in getting to the right solution. It can also be measured by finding the solution that the client desired – although this measure can be somewhat confusing in itself.

I’ve been a lawyer long enough to know that when a client needs services, they often are in a state of frustration. They have been unable to find an answer on their own and need calm counsel to pull them out of “fight” mode. Measuring success becomes a multi-stage endeavor: explaining the laws and procedures to the client, listening to their concerns and extrapolating clear information, and finally achieving a result that completely satisfies both the client and current laws. Even in non-litigation matters, emotions often run high and it is my job to solve the problem and at the same time assist the client in accepting the parameters of laws.

Answering the question, How does one measure success? In my practice, I first verify facts and then assess how the law applies to those facts. This can only be done by listening to the client. Honest assessment builds a relationship of trust with the client so he or she can accept your advice. To me, that is the true measure of success: a client comes out of the process knowing that their legal advisor calmly assessed their concerns and facts to find the best solution in the given legal framework. The strength of that relationship is the biggest measure of success.