Client Relations & Malpractice Suits
Each malpractice lawsuit begins with a client who is dissatisfied with an attorney or law firm. This is an obvious statement, as happy clients don’t tend to file lawsuits. Due to this, it is important to look at your client relations and ensure that you and your firm are doing all that is needed to help clients feel satisfied with the work done. According to the American Bar Association, the most common mistakes that lead to legal malpractice lawsuits include, failure to obtain proper client consent, lack of communication regarding case development, and ignoring or not following client instructions.
- Take the time to explain clearly why the firm was hired, the fees associated with the case, reporting/billing processes, and the client obligations. Be sure to sit down and explain all of this orally, and have it written up so there is not confusion.
- Set realistic expectations. Explain the case, processes, and possible outcomes in clear, simple language to encourage realistic client expectations. Do not make promises that cannot be kept, or that only may happen. Be sure to document what you have been doing and what you expect to do for the next step.
- Maintain good client communication. This is perhaps the most important step you can take. Be sure to return all phone calls promptly and keep appointments on time. It is also important to send the client periodic updates about the case. This includes negative information, the reason for a delay, and always, a revised expected completion date based on the new information.
- All staff members should understand the importance of treating clients with respect and courtesy. The staff is the middleman between the client and the attorney, making it important that they treat the clients questions and concerns just as seriously as the attorney would. Be kind, polite, and cheerful.
While there is no way to guarantee that every client will be pleased with your firm, it is important to follow these tips to avoid legal malpractice suits. For those times, when despite your best efforts, a client proceeds with a lawsuit, Paragon Underwriters can ensure that you are protected with the best professional liability insurance policy for you. Call now to receive a quote today!