Lawyers and Communication – Or Lack Thereof….

Lawyers and Communication – Or Lack Thereof….

We’ve all sat at home waiting for a service person to show up and repair something around the house only to be stood up. They don’t show up, they don’t call to explain their absence and if you even bother to call them back, you’ll get some feeble excuse for their non-appearance. I once lined up 3 service calls at home and took the morning off to kill 3 birds with 1 stone only to have one fix-it guy showed up and 2 others who didn’t.

If I created a bumper sticker, it would be: “Welcome to Florida….Expect Incompetence.” Over time, a lot of that has gotten better with personal service companies like Angie’s List or getting good referrals from friends rather than relying on the Yellow Pages.

With professionals, the problem isn’t access to them, it’s communication with them. As a personal injury lawyer, I can say that whenever we have a new client who has fired a previous personal injury firm it is largely a function of non-communication from that other lawyer or firm.

That other firm may have been doing everything the right way, but when a lawyer does not call their client back after repeated messages have been left, it is logical for the client to think if my lawyer cannot even return a phone call, has he or she done anything on my file?

Many disciplinary actions against lawyers seem to be the result of “failure to communicate with client”. The most basic thing an attorney can do is talk to his or her client to update them on their case and believe it or not, it oftentimes is the downfall of a busy office.

As busy as a personal injury law firm gets, we serve the client – not the other way around. Discussions with clients should be the first line of defense, not the last. I am not unique in this regard, but I make sure that I sit down with my clients at least once every six months to fully update them on their case status and I return all of my messages within one business day.

It is our privilege to serve our clients and we never take that for granted.

Image credit: Anton Gvozdikov

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