There was a golden age in the years before the internet.
Clients of lawyers, accountants, architects, business consultants and financial advisers looked up to and respected their advisers. In fact, it was a two-way thing.
Advisers understood what it meant to be professional. They worked on behalf of, and in the best interests of their clients. Clients trusted you and you valued the trust that they imbued in you. But that trust got shattered.
Cunning advisers in almost every field would take advantage of their position. By definition, the professional expert had been trusted to do everything in their power to improve the lot of their clients. But now things had changed. Advisers started to work on their own account. They put their own needs (or should I say greed) ahead of the needs of their client. They started to abuse the trust.
As it happened, the next thing was that the internet came into the equation.
The actions of the few unscrupulous advisers had muddied the waters for all their kind. All got tarred with the same brush. But the internet seemed to redress the balance.
For a start, the speed and reach of the internet meant that a good or a bad reputation got spread ten times faster than in the old-days. More importantly, much of the so-called precious, hidden, ‘expert’ information was now available for all and sundry to see. It took a few clicks of Google and there it was for all to see. The big ‘secrets’ were no longer so secret.
The days when people in authority abused their power were over. Hurray! At least that’s how it seemed.
But be warned, because now there is a different kind of knowledge and it is in the hands of your clients. I am referring to the half-baked, semi-, demi-, wiki-cum-people’s knowledge that is very much a mixed blessing.
Doctors now see patients who have already self-diagnosed and are in a state of perpetual anxiety as they have looked up maybe 23 potentially life-threatening diseases they may have contracted which any expert could see was flu. Lawyers have clients quoting case law as if they had been in articles for the past five years. And on and on it goes.