By Camille Stell, CLAS
- Develop standard procedures for dealing with clients from intake to settlement, and beware of the client who is always looking for a deviation from protocol.
- Document your conversations with difficult clients, especially your reasonable efforts in response to unreasonable requests.
- Develop clear boundaries and define realistic expectations, including your availability to deal with crisis, return phone calls, and schedule meetings.
- Use form letters, but tailor them to the situation to establish boundaries and define scope of representation.
- Avoid UPL – do not take your knowledge of the law and apply it to your client’s situation in order to provide legal advice.
- Don’t provide clients with any expectations of “winning” their case, either by discussing dollar amounts or assuring them that they have a “great” or “good” case.
- Don’t answer legal questions or provide legal advice, even if a client tries to bully you, or if you feel empathy for the client.
- Do let the attorney know when legal advice has been requested and that you’ve told the client that the attorney must return the phone call to answer their specific question.
- Don’t allow yourself to create a situation with a difficult client that you know you should avoid, but then do it anyway to appease the client.
- Don’t speculate on matters with clients.
Camille is the Director of Client Services for Lawyers Mutual, http://www.lawyersmutualnc.com/. She has over 20 years of legal experience, and has worked for law firms as a paralegal, legal recruiter, and business developer. She has a regular column in Carolina Paralegal News, and is a very popular speaker. She was also a guest on a recent Paralegal Voice podcast.