Lawyers underestimate the handwritten thank you. It contains power they don't see. It reveals one's heart. It lets the "other" know you recognize their importance. It's one way lawyers positively distinguish themselves from other lawyers and, for that matter, all types of business people. The key is to follow up immediately with prospective clients, referral sources, and new clients.
For example, after a meeting with a prospective new client the wise criminal defense lawyer immediately sends a handwritten thank you note to the prospect and the referral source. This prompt and thoughtful gesture makes a powerful impression. I am grateful for meeting you. I care about you. We can work to help each other in the future. Relationship is more important to me than money.
Or after a prospective client contacts the lawyer's office, they follow up with them immediately. The lawyer never leaves the office without first calling back every prospective client. When the lawyer is busy in trial, or otherwise unavailable, someone else in the office calls the prospect and informs them you're busy, but lets them know when to expect to hear back.
Or after a bar meeting, the wise criminal defense lawyer immediately follows up with new contacts made at the meeting with a handwritten note. The follow up may be sending them an article you offered to send, a call to set up a lunch, or a simple note telling them you were glad to meet them. Again, the message this sends is one of recognition and respect. Powerful, indeed.
Finally, after the lawyer is hired by a new client they immediately follow up with a written thank you. The client now learns his new lawyer takes personal responsibility for answering questions and keeping them informed. The client learns his new lawyer works with integrity and professionalism.
In other words, the handwritten thank you lets the "other" know how very important they are. It lets the "other" peek into the heart and see a crop of gratitude ready for harvest. It's power and it's powerful. Don't miss it.