From our sponsors Featured

7:01am EDT October 30, 2006
Douglas A. Neary, partner, vice chair, Business/Corporate Group, Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP

How do you view your role as a trusted adviser?
It’s the most important role any lawyer can have. The more your clients trust and respect you, the more comfortable they are in sharing their plans, strategies and concerns.

An open and trusting relationship allows me to add value for my clients with truly helpful counsel and assistance.

How often do you provide advice to clients?
I have the privilege of being in constant contact with my clients. We really preach the benefits of responsiveness and communication because that is how you learn about the client and their business.

Good communication is how you slowly and steadily build the real trust and respect that leads to the best relationships and counsel.

What is the most important piece of advice you’ve given, and how was it applied?
I had a client who was under a lot of pressure to take a particular approach in a transaction that he was feeling very uncomfortable about. After we had a long discussion, I told him to listen to his gut.

He held his ground, even in the face of significant risks. Ultimately, because of his backbone and strong ethics, the deal got done on a favorable basis for him, and he has been eternally grateful.

What advice would you give to other advisers faced with situations in which their advice is not acted upon by clients?
Don’t give up or get discouraged. Remember, every client has their own unique set of perspectives that they bring to an issue, and these perspectives can impact their decision-making.

Never stop trying to learn and understand as many of those perspectives as possible to keep making your advice more informed and more valuable.

How to reach: Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, (216) 622-8285 or dneary@calfee.com

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First Place Bank, Kenton A. Thompson, regional president

How do you view your role as a trusted adviser?
I view the role of the bank trusted adviser as very similar to the role of the company’s accountant or attorney. Our job is to partner with the client and their company to help build and execute their vision for the future.

We should go to the client with ideas for solutions to problems and issues that they do not even know that they have. Being proactive in our contact with clients is a key in developing the trusted advisor status.

How often do you provide advice to clients?
We tailor the contact frequency to the needs of each individual client. Again, the key to becoming a true trusted adviser is to offer proactive advice rather than just react to situations or questions; therefore, a higher frequency of contact is good, as it shows the client that you are often thinking of them and the best solutions to meet their needs.

What is the most important piece of advice you’ve given, and how was it applied?
The most important advice I give is also usually the most difficult for business owners to address, and that is the area of ownership transition.

Entrepreneurs often think they are going to live forever. It is difficult to think about selling their company or objectively evaluating the potential for success in a transfer to management or the next generation.

What advice would you give to other advisers faced with situations in which their advice is not acted upon by clients?
I think that you have to expect that some clients will take your advice, and some may not. I think as your role as trusted adviser grows with the client, he or she will be more likely to listen to the advice that you offer.

In cases where the advice is not taken, I think that you continue to look for opportunities to offer this same client advice to show that you understand the partnership you have with them and that you still feel that you can benefit them and their company.

Help them to be successful moving down whatever path they choose.

How to reach: First Place Bank, (440) 349-7576, kthompson@fpfc.net