In certain cases, you may have a client who is struggling financially while waiting for that hoped for recovery in the matter you are handling for them. You want to help them in some way, but can you?
You’re annoyed at this potential client who takes up your valuable time telling you everything they already know about their case because they did an ‘extensive’ search on Google. You think they are just there to confirm what they already know by picking your brain for free and walking out the door. You are convinced they are determined not to hire you.
Do you even want to waste your time trying to convince this person they need you as their lawyer? The short answer: Yes.
If I hear one more lawyer tell me they referred out a case to another lawyer ‘just because’ and maybe that lawyer will send something their way down the road, I want to scream, ‘You are leaving money on the table.’ Do you not understand what a referral fee is? Do you not understand the value of this fee to provide you some financial stability for your practice?
Effective client screening is an important practice management tool because it enables you to build a successful and healthy practice. Stop with the excuses. Yes, it may look like a great case, but every legal matter comes with a client and if the two of you can’t work together in a healthy and positive way, then be prepared for a bumpy ride.
From time to time I get involved in conversations with lawyers who have called in with a question or concern and as we talk through the situation it becomes clear that part of the problem is the lawyer doesn’t know who his client is. These are the times I find myself asking “How in the world does this happen?” It happens more often than you think!
A few years back when Hurricane Irene hit we had two 80 foot trees uproot and come crashing down completely destroying our deck. While our home had just superficial damage the loss of the deck remained a very significant financial repair. We immediately called our neighbor because the previous year we had watched their builder construct a beautiful deck. He had a great reputation. But what happens when a great reputation isn’t followed up with great customer service?
Do you understand the financial power of building lawyer networks for referrals? Do you understand the importance of being a traffic hub for business, even legal matters you don’t handle? Do you know how to talk with other professionals to garner referrals? Referrals for many lawyers are their lifeblood, a way to keep the pipeline filled with clients to serve. Jared and I discuss the importance of referrals in this guest lecture and we’d love for you to listen and learn.
You finally finish a client matter.
You believe you did good work and got a good result for your client; but as sometimes happens, you find that the client still owes you quite a bit of money, and on top of that, has stopped making any payments.
You certainly deserve to be paid so what are your options?
For a number of attorneys who find themselves in this situation they make a decision to sue for fees based upon a belief that they did good work and got a good outcome. Of course, post fee suit, none of that will matter to the client. If you do decide to sue for fees based upon the reasons set forth above, don’t be surprised if and when a malpractice counterclaim is filed and things start to get ugly. Seems to me the better approach would be to do all you can to avoid the necessity of ever having to consider suing for fees. With this in mind I offer the following thoughts.
It begins at intake and the best advice I can share is this. Read more….
At Lawyers Mutual, we regularly see claims involving the “inadvertent client.” This is the acquaintance who stops you at a neighborhood party or the grocery store to ask a question about a legal problem. Based on this brief encounter, the acquaintance believes you are his attorney and will handle everything. You assume it was just […]
I recently broke the Cardinal Rule of accepting new clients: I sat there and listened to this guy go on and on about how poorly he thought of his previous attorneys, and I still let him hire me. Why on earth would I do that? Usually I would have run. The rationale for never taking […]