5 Steps to Better Communication in Your Personal Injury Law Firm
June 8, 2021
The importance of communication with your clients cannot be overstated, from the first call until the resolution of their case and after. Learn how your firm can offer the communication today’s clients expect.
Communicate in plain English
Your clients should not need another attorney to decipher the documents they receive from your office. Ensure everything you send to a client is written in plain English, starting with your representation agreement. It is not only essential that your client is able to easily understand the document and feels comfortable signing it, but also that they know what to expect from their attorney and what you expect of them.
Committing to keeping a client updated does not mean giving clients license to call you at six a.m. on a Sunday or expect a response to an email within minutes. Set reasonable expectations at the outset with your representation agreement. Let them know that you or an assistant will regularly update them on the status of their case and document a reasonable time frame in which they can expect a response following a phone call or email. Set up an automatic reply on your email when you are going to be out of the office so a client isn’t waiting around to hear back from you.
Establish a communication cadence
Create a set of “communication best practices” for your firm. Successful firms often require that a file be “touched” at least once a month or every forty-five days. For example, make it a standard practice to call every few weeks to check in on a client’s treatment and send quick emails following hearings. It is a far better experience for a client to hear from you, as opposed to a client repeatedly calling and emailing, trying to figure out what is going on with their case, because they haven’t heard from you in two months.
Clients who feel ignored might start looking for another attorney, leave a two-star Google review, and file a complaint with the state disciplinary board.
Fulfill your ethical obligations
Communicating with your clients isn’t just good practice. Attorneys have a duty under ABA Model Rule 1.4 to keep a client informed and “promptly comply with requests for information”. Personal injury attorneys are generally the subject of more ethical complaints than attorneys practicing any other area of law, and lack of communication is a commonly cited grievance. Establishing and executing a communication cadence will not only help head off communication-related complaints, but also help you defend yourself should you ever be the subject of one.
Use the right tools
Any member of your firm should be able to open up a file and know when the client last heard from your office. Smokeball transforms law firm productivity and allowing firms to efficiently communicate with their clients while getting significantly more work done every day.
- Seamless email management enables everyone in the firm to quickly find emails and provide client updates
- Ensure that your staff and clients are always kept informed of the latest developments in a case using Communicate, Smokeball’s secure messaging and file sharing system
- Quickly and accurately prepare letters using document automation
- Powerful legal task and workflow tools mean that you and your staff will never waste another minute wondering what the next step in a case is or who that step is assigned to.
Whether keeping in touch with prospective clients, communicating with current clients, or maintaining a relationship once a case has been resolved, great communication is essential for any practice. Contact us today to see how the right legal case management software can help you improve your firm and even bill more without charging your clients more.
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