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The Importance of Hiring Empathetic Employees for Your Law Firm

Be careful what you wish for…a successful marketing campaign will make your phone ring! At Whitehardt, we make the phones ring thousands of times every week. We know this because we also answer the phones for many of our clients. But it’s not just the amount of calls your law firm receives that matters, it’s also how those calls are handled.

Whether it’s an existing client, an insurance adjuster, or a new client looking for help with their case, empathy can go a long way in a phone call (maybe not so much for the insurance adjuster).

When that phone rings, I can safely assume a few things:

  1. A person is calling because they were hurt!
  2. Or, they may have another legal issue that’s bothering them.

Whether they were hurt in a car accident, at work, or on someone’s property, they are looking for help. And I personally hate to hear, “Thank you for calling Law Dude and Law Dude can I get your name and number in case we get disconnected?”

I know that there’s a better way to handle these calls, and it starts with empathy.

For example, if your mother, father, husband, wife, relative, child, or any loved one called and said that they were hurt in a car accident, what would be the first thing you would say?

“Are you okay?”

Then you would ask “Where are you?” and figure out how fast you can get there to help out.

Again, empathy.

Now, I do not recommend that you go out and get hurt in a car accident just so you can know how it feels, but if you have been – you know it sucks!

Heck, even waking up to a car that won’t start can mess with your day. Just imagine not being able to get to work, drop the kids off at soccer practice, buy groceries, or the thousands of other things that we depend on our health and our car to make happen on a daily basis.

No one wakes up and thinks, “I hope I get hurt in a car wreck today!” No one!!!

Yet, it happens all across the country in a statistically predictable model. Daily, these calls for help come in and they are answered in a variety of ways. I’m here to tell you that the single best way is with empathy.

With that in mind, I have been teaching the R-U-OK System for almost 20 years to great effect. I manage call centers throughout the nation where I work with trainers to teach their agents the R-U-OK System.

And what it always comes down to is that there are people/employees who are just plain better at being empathetic. Communicating over the phone that you care and want to help someone is not as easy as it may seem.

Some people naturally have this gift. We all likely know or have met these people at some point in our lives. We love these people!

I have found that I can teach anything at a law firm. From the Intake Call to leaving the Disbursement Room with their check and everything in between. But the one thing I can’t teach is empathy.

Of course, I can ask you to imagine, but I can not get you to feel.

Turns out, people either have empathy or they don’t. It is not something one can teach.

But, you can HIRE empathy! And these people are typically easy to identify.

Over the years, I have transformed law firms by simply replacing the non-empathetic with those that exude empathy. Sometimes, it’s adding or removing a few individuals but, nonetheless, the change is transformative.

Not only are these people great with law firm clients but they are also fantastic co-workers! A team of dedicated and empathetic employees can truly make a difference in other people’s lives. It is a wonder and a joy to witness.

Now, you may be asking, “But how do I find these people through the hiring process? How do I discover in a job interview if a person is empathetic or not?”

Well, that’s where I come in. I have developed a way to discover in the interview process if a candidate really cares or not and I share this method with all of Whitehardt’s clients. If you want to learn how to hire empathy, give me a call.

Having said all of this, I really don’t care if you call me or not, but I DO care about helping my clients be as successful as possible. And that starts with hiring empathy.


Our CFO and lead consultant, Felix Eckhardt, is ready to help your law firm reach your financial and business goals. Call us today at info@whitehardt.com to discuss your practice with Felix. For more information, visit our law firm consulting page.


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