(I’m changing information on the text but it’s a true story.)
Client: I want to be listed as the only fiduciary on my son’s estate.
Lawyer: Ok. Meet me down at O’Shaughnessey’s bar and bring friends of the female persuasion.
Client: Excuse me?
Lawyer: O’Shaughnessey’s bar. Bring women. You know what kind.
Client: What kind of lawyer are you?
Lawyer: Oh, I’m so sorry. That text wasn’t meant for you. After all, it is a Saturday.
Yes. Yes, this happened. I only know it happened because the ‘client’ is a friend of mine and I happen to know the lawyer.
Here’s the problem. We’ve fallen into too much casual contact with clients and this contact is ’round the clock for both the client and the lawyer’s convenience. This type of cringe-worthy mistake is going to happen (if something similar hasn’t already happened to you) and probably more often than you like. How do you avoid it? I have one simple suggestion:
Have a business cell phone and a personal cell phone. Is this cumbersome and potentially more money for you? Yes to both. But if you only have one cell phone which pulls double duty as your business phone and/or you give your personal cell phone number out to clients, you have to consider it an important expense. Compare this against how expensive it is to have this type of exchange with a client who now questions both you and your professionalism. Think long and hard about it. Logistically, juggling two cell phones will require some planning but it’s well worth it. However, now when you pick up your professional cell phone you will be in lawyer mode when both texting and talking and (hopefully) not out partying and looking for some action.
End of story.
2 comments on “When Lawyer to Client Texts Go Wrong!”
A good point about one way things can go wrong but then these days technology exists that allows you to have a separate business number for texting with clients without having to go through the step of getting a separate physical phone. There are plenty of digital options available that create a business line without needing to have a separate phone. Some people use Google Voice and others use different services but they all work similarly, giving you voice and text options over the internet.
While this may be available, when all the information gets forwarded to one phone it still allows for this type of mistake. It’s along the lines of having different colored checkbook covers for your operating account and IOLTA. Does it really matter if you’re conscientious? No. But mistakes happen when we get sloppy or tired so having a psychological trigger is beneficial. So, for $40 a month (and usually you can get a free inexpensive phone), I say it’s worth it!
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