Always return the call
One of the most complained about ethics violation to the Board
of Bar Overseers (BBO) has to do with lawyers not returning phone
calls to their clients. We all know we should return our client's
phone calls (ideally within a few hours), but if the only reason
why you're returning phone calls to your clients is your fear of a
BBO complaint, you need to examine some of your priorities.
We live in a culture of instant gratification. We want what we
want and we want it now. We get upset when our smartphone signal
goes from LTE to 3G, because it slows down our web browser by a
minute. We get upset when our apps don't download quickly because
we must have that update to Candy Crush. Believe it or not, our
clients are the same way. When they call an attorney's office to
set up a consultation or to follow up on their case, they expect to
speak with the attorney right away or at least within a reasonable
period of time.
I tell my clients from the start that I will always respond to
their phone calls within 24 hours. Reality is, I will usually
respond to their phone call within an hour, unless I am in court
and I am not at my desk. Setting the expectation for your clients
is important, because they know they will be heard and that you
value their time.
Other than clients, you should always respond in a timely
fashion also to other people who call your office. It does not
matter if it is opposing counsel, other attorneys asking for
advice, a mentee, your forensic accountant, etc. All of those
people are potential referral sources for your firm and can bring
you business. So why would you ignore them?
There have been countless times when I have referred business to
opposing counsel from previous cases. I will refer out business to
those attorneys who always return my phone calls or e-mails and
who, even though they were on the other side, treated me with
respect. Everyone is a potential business referral source.
Tip courtesy of Gabriel Cheong, Infinity Law Group in
Quincy, MA. Follow on twitter @GabrielCheong or visit www.infinitylawgroup.com.
Published July 11, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Cynthia E.
MacCausland or Vice Chair Damian J.