Lawyers express themselves on behalf of others for a living, whether the work is done in a courtroom or from behind a desk. As a result, some practitioners would likely be amused or offended at the notion that they might not be effectively communicating with their own clients. Yet, the No. 1 reason for client complaints to the State Bar of California revolves around lack of communication with their lawyer. The truth of the matter is that lawyers get busy. And when lawyers get busy, there is often a rush to get things done, move on to the next project, check boxes, get things filed and go, go, go! Communication — real communication — suffers as a result.
Skilled word processing staff, particularly for smaller practices and transactional attorneys, are all but gone. Attorneys must increasingly handle their own documents, generally using the not-always-friendly Microsoft WordTM. Battling with automatic numbering is not the highest and best use of your time nor your client’s wallet. With that in mind, I offer a collection of some of my most often used techniques in Microsoft Word.
By Marc Adelman
Meeting a client’s expectations on any given matter is the biggest challenge lawyers often face. Failure to meet those expectations will often leave the client wondering if you did your job, kept your promises, or if your actions met the standard of care. Setting the tone for those expectations starts at your very first interaction with the client. You should not underestimate the import of that initial interaction. Becoming familiar with the client, the facts, and articulating the potential direction and potential outcomes of the case is of primary importance. Take the time to accomplish these critical tasks. Be careful not to assure a result and be mindful of the language you include in your fee agreement. For example: