10 Risk Management Strategies for Paralegals

Camille Stell
By Camille Stell, CLAS

  1. 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.
  2. Document your conversations with difficult clients, especially your reasonable efforts in response to unreasonable requests.
  3. Develop clear boundaries and define realistic expectations, including your availability to deal with crisis, return phone calls, and schedule meetings.
  4. Use form letters, but tailor them to the situation to establish boundaries and define scope of representation.
  5. Avoid UPL – do not take your knowledge of the law and apply it to your client’s situation in order to provide legal advice.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Don’t speculate on matters with clients.

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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.

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