Where Most Lawyers Get it Wrong in Their Law Firm Client Relationship Management System:
Most lawyers do not have a clue about how to manage their law firm client relationships and get it very wrong. Do you do what I used to do? I would take my clients’ instructions, write them down, and then let them know I would provide them with a draft of what I had created at a later time for their review and approval.
Then I would wait until I was not disturbed before getting around to preparing that letter, email, document brief, legal argument, or what have you (I often worked during the evening, or weekend to catch up when doing so).
This poor strategy made two incorrect assumptions:
- That I would find the time, energy, and mental resources available to getting around to preparing what it is I was to prepare; and
- That I would recall exactly what my client wanted me to say.
Is this you too? Perhaps it is a few days, weeks, or even months that go by. You know you have to get around to writing that material, but you have been really busy. Every time you go to write something, you get interrupted, don’t feel like it, or are struggling with remembering what you were supposed to say. This is just one of your cases, and of course, there are many others that you have to think about.
Not to mention, the more time that goes by, the less sense your notes now make. Your client’s instructions have become foggy.
Finally, maybe after your client has followed up once or twice or even three times, you get down to it and send your client the draft of what you have finally written. Your client is clearly unhappy with you. It is highly likely you get something incorrect, maybe even a small detail. So, now your client trusts you even less. They are now wondering if you were even listening to them in the first place and might even be questioning your competence, and even worse, they question whether or not you even care about them or their case.
Now, because you went into the office on a weekend (or shut yourself in a room at home to get this done) and did not get to spend time with your own family, you send your client a bill. Your client not only does not appreciate the bill but wonders if you really spent the amount of time you charged.
So, you have worked hard, missed out on time with your own family, and have an unhappy client. This issue is probably duplicated all over your caseload. Don’t feel bad about this, it is a truth for most lawyers. But don’t despair, you can fix this and it is easier than you think.
I remember once it took me almost two years to deal with moving forward with a case. It made my clients super angry and yes, they did report me to the Law Society which caused me a lot of grief, time and stress. What I could have done instead was used this uber simple system.