How should your lawyer communicate with you as a client?

How should your lawyer communicate with you as a client?

A picture of two people having a conversation with the words, "How should your lawyer communicate with you as a client?"

If you hire a lawyer, how should your lawyer communicate with you and how should you communicate with your lawyer?

Here’s the bottom line – the communication should be done in a way that is best for you.

You need to express that to your lawyer. 

Your lawyer may not be able to do this exactly how you want, but there should be some conversation and an attempt to come together with something. 

Here’s an example:

Some people only want to receive things through the mail. Typically, this is not the way in which most law firms operate.

However, as their lawyer, we should honor that and try at least the majority of the time to communicate through the mail.

Sometimes you may need a quicker response which will require other forms of communication, but generally, we would try to use mail as much as possible.

Other people say they don’t can send some things by email, but text them if you really need to get a hold of them.

A lot of lawyers are resistant to this, but my view is that if you hire a lawyer, there has to be a little give and take for effective communication.

Your lawyer should try to accommodate you whether it is texts, email, calls, etc. 

Do some thinking about your relationship with this lawyer and law firm.

Decide how you want to communicate.

Talk with your lawyer and make sure there is an agreement made about your communication preferences.

If you only want texts and will never check your email, but the lawyer says they will only email and never text, this relationship will not work. You are both missing each other. 

You need to have an agreement so there is proper communication. 

Often, we have people come to us and say “ I am unhappy with my lawyer, will you represent me?”

I typically tell these people to go talk to their lawyer, communicate with them, and try to work it out. 

Usually, they tell me their lawyer will not communicate back. The lawyer won’t respond. 

Some of that could be the lawyer being unresponsive, but some of it is due to communicating in different ways. 

If you have sent your lawyer 5 texts with no response, maybe he isn’t seeing those texts. 

Maybe your lawyer has sent you 5 emails, but you have 10,000 unread emails because you never check your inbox. 

We need to get on the same page for how to communicate. 

This may seem minor. 

You have a big personal injury case and you’re looking at several firms, you’re watching their videos, reading articles, feel that you’ve found the right one.

Well, part of finding the right one is finding the firm that will communicate with you in the right way. 

You have to be open-minded to them and they must be open-minded to you. 

Here’s one last example:

About 13 years ago, I made the decision that I would not personally take any inbound calls.

No one can call me directly and all of my calls are scheduled in advance. 

The one exception to this rule is if a judge tries to contact me directly.

I have a few reasons for this decision.

This helps me to avoid interruptions, distractions, and mixups while working on cases.

Typically, my clients have not heard of this before, but they like it because I explain why I do it this way.

I tell them they can text me or email me, I’m just not necessarily going to be able to respond immediately because I’m going to finish what I’m working on first. 

Even though this is different, clients like it because I explain my reason.

When I am working on your case, I am not being distracted by anyone else because all calls are scheduled. 

You need to do the same thing with your lawyer. Discuss your reasons for how you need to communicate.

Tell them why it is hard for you to schedule calls. For example, you may have an erratic work schedule, so it would be better to email or text. 

Or it may be better to have a call with much shorter notice since your schedule can be unpredictable.

Communicate, find the right fit, and make those decisions.

You could have the best lawyer in the world, but if you can’t communicate efficiently with them it won’t do you any good. 

If you can fix this on the front end, it can prevent a lot of problems down the road.

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Thanks and have a great day!


John Watts

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