TAMPA – Health law attorney Erin Smith Aebel received the 2016 Lexology Client Choice award for exemplary client service in London last week.
She was the only winner from Florida in the Healthcare and Life Sciences category, and she is the only attorney from her firm to have ever received the honor.
“It is very meaningful because all lawyers are expected to perform excellent legal work but how you deliver that work and your client's experience is what sets you apart,” she said. “I also feel that it has set the bar higher for me so I am now trying harder to improve the level of service we provide.”
Aebel is a partner and the Healthcare Practice co-administrator at the Shumaker, Loop, Kendrick, LLP firm in Tampa. She represents various physicians, medical groups, clinical laboratories, hospitals and healthcare provider in all manners of business law.
Educated at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, she is board certified as a health law specialist by the Florida Bar, and regularly advises clients on HIPPA, fraud, STARK, abuse and licensure issues. She also assists in negotiations for hospital-related agreements, physician employment agreements and medical director agreements.
Representing such a technical and demanding field requires Aebel to be diligent. Her clients are always a priority.
“I am available by email at all hours,” she said. “I try to learn as much about my clients as possible. This helps me to craft solutions for them that are highly individualized and that depend upon what their goals are. I also help clients identify the monetary and emotional costs of certain legal approaches. Finally, I help them identify when the law is not the solution for all aspects of their problem, and I can focus them in other areas.”
This focus on serving the client paid off when she received her award at a celebratory gala at the famed One Great George Street across from the Houses of Parliament in London.
The Lexology Client Choice award is just one of many awards and recognition Aebel has won. She was named the Tampa Bay Business Journal 2014 Businesswoman of the Year for Legal Services, Florida Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine, 2008–2014 and Top Lawyer by Tampa Bay Magazine.
Aebel noted, however, that her fondest victories are in serving her clients.
“When I can sell a business for a great value to a hard-working client” she said when asked about her favorite moments in assisting clients. “When I can put a client into business with all of the right licenses and compliance to prevent problems before they occur; when I can help a client successfully navigate a government action or investigation that could have put them out of business.”
Aebel has also expressed gratitude for her firm, noting that she could not perform the exemplary client services without the team of law partners, associates and staff. She hopes that this award brings more recognition to her firm and sets it apart from the competitors.
Regarding her future, Aebel hopes to continue to work hard and acquire more clients. As for where she will place her award? Anywhere but on her wall.
“I generally do not like awards on my wall, she said. “I put art on my wall. An anti-ego wall. It's on my desk now, but will probably make its way to a bottom shelf somewhere soon. It's not the physical thing that matters. It's how you treat people every day.”
As an example of that code, Aebel hosted a tea party in London for her fellow awardees before the award ceremony to show her appreciation.
“I can’t think of an event that’s more English than a tea party!” Aebel said.
Aebel and her fellow awardees were chosen from a pool of more than 2,000 attorneys.
The Lexology Client Choice awards recognize those partners from around the world who offer excellent client services. Clients are asked to rate individual lawyers and law firms on the following client service criteria: quality of legal advice, value for money, commercial awareness, effective communication, billing transparency, tailored fee structures, response time, sharing of expertise and use of technology.
Law firms are not notified about when the initial round of research is conducted.