Excellent client service is not something we leave to chance. Being smart and working hard are necessary but not sufficient. At Cook & Watkins, PLC, we take great pains to be smart about the process of practicing law. Everyone talks about integrity and excellent work and those are qualities that are certainly important to us. It is, however, our experience, our commitment to our clients, our creativity, and our focus that set us apart. We utilize all the tools available to us, from advanced technology to good, old-fashioned listening skills.
We Listen to our Clients
We are good listeners. We pay careful attention to detail and nuance. We listen with the attitude that the client is almost always right. This is especially true in our practice because we have the luxury to turn down work or clients. Consequently, we stay busy with work for people we like and respect.
We strive to take good notes and to use technology to make sure that the notes are not lost. However, we have the courage, commitment and humility to continue to communicate with each client to make sure that we understand the project and stay focused on the particular client’s business objectives. We have a long history with most of our clients (and we work to that end with all of our clients) and that makes the communication easier and more productive.
We Prepare Thoroughly
We prepare carefully for any significant appearance in a case. We rehearse oral arguments, we carefully outline our questions and strategies when we take depositions and spend time with our clients who will be deposed, so that they know what to expect. Most business litigation settles before trial, and our cases are no exception. However, as our larger cases near trial we will almost always hire a private jury and conduct a mock trial to hone our actual trial presentation and get a fresh, non-lawyer perspective on the strengths and weaknesses of our client’s case.
We Are Creative and Aggressive
The practice of law is both art and science. There are generally multiple ways to skin the cat and if one avenue to a client’s goals is closed, we will find another. This is entirely consistent with our optimism and constant focus on our duty to our clients.
We Use Technology to Our Advantage
We are always seeking ways to make our work more effective and efficient. We are confident that we spend as much on technology per lawyer as do most very large law firms. Every person who works at our firm has a high-quality computer, the latest software, and multiple monitors. We employ voice-recognition software to streamline dictation. We have a high speed, large capacity printer/copier/scanner and every document that comes into the office and every document that leaves the office gets scanned. All of our digital information is stored on a RAID array and to an off-site backup server to ensure we never lose a byte of data. Every pdf document is converted to searchable text and then indexed to be immediately searchable. Consequently, we can search the documents generated in decades of practice or the in complex business litigation in a matter of seconds.
We pay for and extensively use virtually all the legal research databases available from Lexis-Nexis and purchase other research databases as necessary — the extensive insurance business and law database available from Integrated Risk Management Institute (IRMI) and the non-profit organizations database available from GuideStar, for example.
We use sophisticated software to efficiently organize, review, and evaluate the thousands of documents that are often generated in the complex litigation we handle. Each document can be cross-referenced by date, party, witness, and issue, allowing the easy compilation of chronologies, and interactive witness and exhibit lists.
We write every day. When we are not searching for or discussing the answers to questions raised in an engagement, we are generally writing about those answers.
Every lawyer and every staff member has access to all the tools necessary to produce first-rate written work. Every lawyer and every staff member is a writer, an editor, and a proofreader as the situation requires. This is true of our transactional work as well as our litigation work. Our goal is to make every contract we draft a clear, complete expression of the desires of our client and to make every brief we write concise, correct, readable, and persuasive. No significant contract or brief leaves the office without having been reviewed by two or more of our professionals.
It is unlikely that any other law firm in Kentucky, large or small, puts more emphasis on or devotes more time to the craft of writing. Every person here knows the emphasis we put on writing well. Everyone here has heard Duane say that every brief should have an introduction that is so succinct and powerful that the judge is persuaded of the justice of our client’s cause before his eyes leave the first page. And everyone here has experienced the same merciless edits to their work that Duane and Steve perform on their own work.
One advantage of a firm over a solo-practitioner is our ability to collaborate. We have scheduled as well as impromptu brainstorming sessions to work out the best way to approach a topic and find unique approaches to thorny problems. Each of us has different areas of expertise and we do not hesitate to leverage the skills of our teammates to achieve our goals.