August 30 is National Frankenstein Day and it celebrates Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein on Shelley’s birthday. As you get ready for your Labor Day weekend plans, take a moment to remember the book from your high school or college days. It was published in 1818 when Shelley was just 20 years old! She and her friends were having a friendly competition to write the best ghost story, and she won. This is a classic, and if you’re hitting the beach this weekend, consider throwing a copy in your beach bag.
First, let’s start with a quick summary that doesn’t give away the entire plot. Sometime in the 18th century, scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a hideous humanoid who is referred to as the Creature. The Creature escapes to the wilderness where he learns to speak and read by observing a family living near him. The Creature realizes that everyone is and will be horrified by him. Therefore, he runs away to find Victor, and begs Victor to create a female companion for him. The Creature lurks and watches Victor work, while Victor is tormented by the work. The book consists of horror, death, and tragic fates for Victor and the Creature.
Why did I decide to write about Frankenstein today? It’s a complex and brilliant novel with many layers. However, I will just focus on a couple of takeaways from Victor and the Creature that can be applicable for your law firm.
Victor tries to do something great with his life. He is devoted to his scientific experiments and he tries to create life in an unorthodox way. His scientific achievements are incredible! However, instead of being proud of his accomplishments and sharing them with the scientific community, Victor is horrified. He is worried because he creates a Creature whose behavior is unpredictable. Although the Creature learns to speak and read and tries to befriend a family, he is also capable of killing. Victor is tormented by the thought of creating another Creature who could be more evil than his first creation. He also fears for his family, as the Creature threatens it.
My takeaway here is that you can’t always control your outcomes and you can’t overwork yourself. It’s up to you how much time you decide to spend on your work and in your firm. It’s great to set goals and work hard, but it’s also important to have a work life balance. Consider this also for your paralegals and other employees as you set work guidelines and benefits. Perhaps if Victor left his work at work and focused on other interests in his spare time, he wouldn’t have been so preoccupied by the Creature’s whereabouts.
Victor tries to create something amazing but his experiment turns into a complicated monstrosity. If you don’t want your intake process to turn into a complicated monstrosity, keep it simple and organized. Make sure your intake staff has an intake script so you get the consistent and full information from all of your claimants. Keep track of your claimant interactions in a CRM, such as eLuminate. If your paralegals haven’t reached a claimant, have them keep track of call and email attempts and their next scheduled contact. Once a claimant is a desired case, expedite the sign up process by sending out a fee agreement and any other applicable documents through electronic signature. Having an organized and simple system will ensure that your firm’s work is not only done, but also done well.
The Creature tries to become a good person and achieve his full potential. In the wilderness, he speaks, reads, and helps a poor family. He collects wood for them and attempts to befriend a blind member of the family. He taps into the goodness of his heart, but he is rejected by society. When the Creature is first created, Victor rejects him. When the Creature runs away from Victor, strangers show their fear and hatred of him. The family that the Creature has been helping leaves their home and the Creature, as they’re afraid of him. No one has sympathy or understanding for the Creature, which causes him to seek revenge.
My takeaway from the Creature is to be sympathetic. As a person, don’t judge a book by its cover. As a lawyer, you have the perfect opportunity to listen to your claimants and help them, instead of dismiss them. Many of them are coming from dire circumstances. They’re confused and they’re seeking help, so provide that help to them. Your claimants are likely discouraged and looking for hope. Reassure them by listening to their situation, understanding it, and providing compassion.
Not all of your leads will turn into clients and you may be frustrated when you receive a lead that doesn’t seem like a good prospect. However, call all of your leads regardless of what they write on the webform. The claimants spend just a few seconds or a minute on the webform, so they may not enter the full story. More importantly, they are looking for help, so give them a few minutes of your time. Perhaps they won’t turn into a client for any number of reasons, but your kind interactions can make them reassured and happy, and could potentially lead to a referral for you.
This blog just begins to scratch the surface of Frankenstein. It’s a rich and timeless novel; therefore, consider rereading it or picking it up for the first time. Have a great Frankenstein Day!