Communicating With Your Attorney
This is one of the most difficult parts of an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with your attorney can be a pain, especially when you can’t get him or her on the phone. Further, a communication problem is the last problem any lawyer worth his salt wants to experience. Therefore, here are some tips for both the attorney and client to consider.
Things An Attorney Can Do:
- Tell the client upfront you will not personally take every call. Inform them that a staff member communicating information to them is the same as if you communicated it to the client.
- Speaking of staff, that brings us to the next point. Have staff promptly respond to client inquiries.
- Next, always respond to a client’s call within 48 hours. Except in the most extreme circumstances, this is very doable.
- Never ignore the client. This is unacceptable.
Things An Attorney Is Not Required To Do:
- Lawyers are not required to contact their clients weekly. Sometimes weeks will pass without any new developments on a case. A good example of this is, in Mississippi, after a complaint is filed the defendants have 30 days to respond. There may be nothing new for the attorney to communicate with the client.
- An attorney is not required to speak with the client personally. We often have multiple staff members we oversee in their tasks. Often, it is impossible for us to speak with every client who calls in a day. Please do not think of us as trying to be rude. However, I explain this to my clients on day one so they understand I will not be available to speak with them personally every time.
Things A Client Can Do:
- Ask your attorney upfront what their communication policy is. This puts everyone on the same page on day one regarding communicating with your attorney.
- Leave as detailed of a message as possible when you call. Often attorneys work on dozens of cases at a time. The more details you give the more the attorney’s staff can prepare him to have a discussion regarding your case and your question. Failing to give a message other than, “have the attorney call me” results in a call from a staff member wanting more information.
- Allow the lawyer up to 48 hours to respond except in true emergencies.
Things A Client Should Not Do:
- You shouldn’t call multiple times a day when it is not an emergency. I assure you, this does not put you any higher in the callback pile. This actually slows the attorney and his or her staff down from responding to inquiries made before you called.
- Don’t threaten to take your case elsewhere if the attorney does not call you back within a certain timeframe. Just like you don’t tolerate threats, your attorney won’t take them well either.
- Never threaten or scream at an attorney’s staff. This will only make communicating with your attorney more difficult.
At The Franks Law Firm, PLLC, we believe in communicating with our clients as effectively as possible. If you have been hurt in a car wreck, injured on the job, or charged with a criminal matter and wish to have a law firm who will talk to you, contact The Franks Law Firm, PLLC to discuss your matter. If you’re interested in reading our other blogs, check them out here.