Like all relationships, sometimes the attorneys and their clients go through rough patches. If things aren’t going well with your attorney here are some thoughts from Fort Worth attorney, Rob Henry, on how to get things back on track and raise issues without feeling like you are bugging your lawyer.
One of the complaints that you’ll hear quite a bit is just the cadence of communication, making sure that people are getting back to clients and that they are getting updates on the case. The best way to handle this issue is to have a frank conversation with your attorney and set clear expectations for how often those communications will take place and then to bring up any issues that the client might be feeling when it comes to the current client relationship and dealing with the case.
I was in a similar situation about a year ago. Everything ended up alright, but it was a bunch of miscommunications, and I was guilty of it, too. My client just asked to come in, we sat down and we talked, and evidently there were a couple of times where she thought… Like I said, it was miscommunication, but she wasn’t clear on where the case was going.
I didn’t even realize she wasn’t clear on the status of the case, because the case was going on fine and we were on track… but she had wanted me to check in with her more. I explained to her that I was really sorry about that. I told her about where we were going, gave her a couple of red-line dates to let her know “Moving forward, I’ll definitely check in by this date and let you know.”
We made some agreements on what dates to check in, and it wasn’t necessarily every week or every month. I told her “You can always call me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, but you just have to trust me and let me do the job.”
The meeting went well, and really, I learned a lot from it. I realized I need to be more upfront with my clients about “You’re probably not going to hear from me every week or month sometimes (if it’s a long case), but I’m going to keep you in the loop. And if you’re worried about something or you need to check in with me, you can always call me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
Sometimes clients feel like the problem is going to get solved very quickly, and it’s often is not going to be wrapped up like that. I understand why it’s difficult for them, because it’s such a traumatic thing they went through. What I always try to stress is that the main thing you can do right now is just try to get back to normal, move on with your life, and let me handle it.
As you can see a lot of attorney-client issues arise from a perceived lack of communication or miscommunication. If you keep an open dialogue with your attorney and set clear expectations from the onset of the case you can avoids some of these pitfalls.