There is no doubt that lawyers are very busy people spending most of the day working as fast as they can in an attempt to get as much work done as they can. This is a result of the fact that practicing law is a very tedious process with constant looming deadlines and the fact that unless things get done lawyers do not get paid…and the more they get done the more they get paid. For most lawyers, “lunch” and “5:00 quitting time” are a distant memory. For most lawyers, “success” is if they escape having to go to the office on Saturday morning.
I’m certain the majority of lawyers work hard for their clients looking out for their best interests. So, why is returning a client’s phone call so difficult and such a burdensome task? It seems to be the number one complaint of clients and often times gets lawyers in trouble. Why is it so hard to pick-up the phone and spend 5 minutes or less with a client? There are several factors that contribute to this problem:
First, Lawyers are for the most part very confident and strong-willed people who adopt the attitude “you hired me-let me do what I have to do. I will let you know ‘when’ I have resolved your legal matter”;
Second, Lawyers tend to prioritize the day’s tasks partially due to never ending deadlines imposed by the legal rules and regulations a lawyer works under. This leads to the attitude that a client’s call can wait.
Third, in order for a lawyer to succeed and be a good lawyer it requires confidence and a little bit of a “swagger”. This sometimes leads to the unfortunate attitude of “the client is lucky they have me for a lawyer-they can wait”. Trust me, there are a lot of other good lawyers.
Finally, and most importantly, lawyers often forget that the very reason they were hired is most likely something that is very important that is going on in the client’s life. Personal injury, business concerns, divorce and even a simple speeding ticket can have a tremendous impact on a client’s life; even leading to anxiety, depression and relationship problems. Lawyers often forget this!
THE SOLUTION – A simple 3-5 minute return phone call giving the client a quick update. It is not that hard. Lawyers are good at getting to the point (well, sometimes ). This will not only reassure the client that an important thing going on in their life is in the process of getting resolved which will affect the client and perhaps others in a very positive way but will also reassure the client that they hired the right lawyer. Remember, if you were not the lawyer you would expect the same!
Lawyers owe to their clients this very simple task of returning a phone call…and don’t forget without clients lawyers would not be in business. Your clients deserve this–just like you deserve “lunch”! MAKE THAT RETURN PHONE CALL! TRUST ME, IT WILL NOT HURT YOUR BUSINESS—IT WILL HELP IT!