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Acquire clients? I prefer trust building!

This post is also available in: Deutsch

Today I would like to vent and address a topic that has been burning under my nails for a long time. As a lawyer with a well-functioning website and some notoriety in the industry (modest as I am 😊), I am particularly active on LinkedIn. There, I repeatedly receive inquiries and tips on how I could “acquire” clients. Now it’s time to share my thoughts on this topic.

The A word

“Acquire” – that word makes me cringe when it comes to clients. Yes, I also have a marketing background, but in the dynamic and entrepreneurial world of startups and the self-employed, I find that the term “acquire” is inappropriate in the context of client relationships. Acquire implies to me a transaction, something cool and calculating. There is something about a business deal that is mainly about numbers and profits. It feels like trying to attract customers to a product, almost as if it were a commodity on a supermarket shelf.

Working with startups and self-employed people is about much more than transactions. It’s about vision, ambition and the pursuit of innovation. My clients are often passionate entrepreneurs seeking support and guidance to successfully build their business. Their concerns are specific: they want to make sure they get everything right legally, find the right partners, and possibly get investors excited about their ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, as a lawyer and consultant, of course I’m in business to make money – that’s an essential part of any business. But my approach goes beyond just making money. It is not my goal to persist in an outdated narrative that suggests lawyers should not be about money. What matters to me is that clients consciously choose me, my special blend of management consulting and legal services.

When we as lawyers use the word “acquire,” we unconsciously reduce our relationship with clients to a mere business relationship. But working with startups and self-employed people is about a partnership based on mutual inspiration, sharing knowledge and realizing business potential together.

As a lawyer, I would like not only to give legal advice, but also to be a trailblazer. One who understands my clients’ business goals and helps them achieve those goals. I want to help them navigate legal challenges safely and give them the tools to succeed.

So let’s be intentional about the words we use to describe our work and our relationships with clients. Collaboration with startups and self-employed people is not about the mere exchange of services, but about the joint pursuit of success and the unfolding of entrepreneurial visions. It’s about choosing a partnership built on mutual understanding, support and a common purpose – not because you were simply “acquired.”

Building trust and added value

In addition, in my daily work as a lawyer and consultant, it is very important to me that clients experience real added value through their cooperation with me. It is not only about what I present here on ITmedialaw, but mainly about the personal and professional support I offer in practice. I want clients to feel like they are investing in a partnership that will help them make informed decisions, realize their vision and achieve their business goals.

In today’s fast-paced and complex business world in which startups and self-employed individuals operate, it is critical to have a partner at your side who brings not only legal expertise, but also an understanding of business challenges and opportunities. As someone who works closely with startups and entrepreneurs, I strive to empathize with my clients’ unique needs and goals and develop customized approaches.

Of course, it is true that the outcome of any legal or business matter depends on many factors and is not always predictable. But that doesn’t mean the path to get there can’t be thought out and strategized. It’s about working together to weigh risks, identify opportunities, and work proactively to realize the business vision.

Nevertheless, it remains a fundamental principle of my work as a lawyer and consultant to always strive to make a positive contribution to the success of my clients. This means that I provide not only legal but also strategic advice to ensure that my clients are equipped with the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Together, we can work to realize ideas that go beyond mere legal concerns to create real, sustainable value.

A trusted partner

I don’t want to be just a lawyer; I want to be a trusted partner to my clients. A partner who not only advises them on legal matters, but is also honest when it comes to decisions that may not be in their best interest. For example, I also advise against lawsuits in which I could potentially earn good money if I feel that the chances of success are difficult to assess or the economic risk for the client is too great.

In such cases, it is a matter of making a realistic assessment of the situation and weighing the potential costs and risks. As a trusted partner, it is my job to help my clients make informed decisions, even if that means potentially forfeiting fee entitlements.

It is critical that my clients know that I have their best interests at heart and that I am willing to make honest recommendations, even if it means I benefit less financially. This strengthens trust and shows that I really care about the well-being and success of my clients.

The cooperation is based on mutual respect and trust. Through transparent and honest communication, I want to ensure that my clients can make the best possible decisions for their businesses, even if that means sometimes choosing a more cautious or alternative path. My goal is to build long-term partnerships based on integrity, trust and the shared pursuit of success.


It is time for the word “canvass” to be viewed in a new light, especially when it comes to the attorney-client relationship. When you contact me as an attorney, I want you to know that you are not just a “client” for me to “acquire.” Rather, you are a valued part of a partnership that is about building trust, adding value, and working together to achieve your goals.

I want potential clients like you to understand that it is important to me to represent an industry that is known not only for its expertise, but also for its integrity and commitment to client welfare. In a fast-paced world where start-ups and self-employed individuals face complex challenges, I am here not only to provide legal support, but also to be a trusted partner and advisor.

Instead of talking about “acquisition,” I want to talk about relationship building. It’s about building a solid foundation of trust on which we can work together to achieve your goals. In doing so, I not only look at the legal aspects, but also keep the big picture in mind and understand the goals and needs you have as an entrepreneur.

In this partnership, you are not just a number in a file, but a valued client with whom I want to work closely. Together, we can build a network of trust, expertise and support that will strengthen you in your endeavor and help you realize your vision. Your best interests are always at the center of my work, and I am committed to making a real contribution to your success.

Marian HĂ€rtel

Marian HĂ€rtel

Marian HĂ€rtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053


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