‘Trusted advisor’ status… …the Holy Grail?

Ever since David Maister published ‘The Trusted Advisor‘ in 2001, it has been the daily pursuit of private practice lawyers to demonstrate that they have attained and retain ‘trusted advisor‘ status with their key clients. As is the case with many cliche phrases used or suggested by law firm marketing teams (like, “what keeps you up at night?”) however, I have often wondered – and vocalised – what being a trusted advisor actually means?

Sure there are many consultants who can (suggest) road-map your way to trusted advisor status. There may even be one or two lawyers out there who can articulate what that actually means. But as I have often been heard to say: “how often do you instruct a personal advisor – such as a lawyer, accountant, financial advisor – that you don’t (at least a little), trust?

My guess is that would happen in very few occasions (in my case I needed a plumber at 11pm and didn’t take too long doing reference checks 🙂 ).

But the interesting take is how in-house lawyers view this phenomenon.

And on the note, I was quietly pleased to see the following post by Richard Given – General Counsel and Company Secretary at 10x Banking – on a LinkedIn thread I was involved in last week:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 7.00.07 pm

because Richard sums up my exact concerns/thoughts over the past decade and a half whenever the term “trusted advisor” has been thrown about.

Food for thought at least.

rws_01

One comment

  1. Richard

    I wonder what the profession thinks it gains by standing on the hackneyed ground of ‘Trusted Advisor’? Being client-side, it never crosses my mind to think I can’t rely up, less still trust, the lawyer or law firm I’m instructing. Personally, I’m not after a ‘best buddy’ relationship but rather someone who’s willing to put in the hard yards to understand the business and me. Even small things like the method and use of communication can be as important in how gold-plated is the advice. I think it’s about time the advertising/BD gurus looked to coin a more relevant term and it doesn’t have to include the word trust or some such synonym. Best wishes, Julian

    Liked by 1 person

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