With the decline in the economy, thriving law practices are becoming fewer and farther between. In fact, many lawyers are struggling just to stay afloat. It can be tempting in this situation to accept any case that walks through the door, just to keep some revenue coming in. Don’t give in to this temptation…it can be one of the most costly mistakes you make.
When you don’t screen your clients, you not only increase your odds of not being paid, you also run the risk of facing malpractice claims down the road, and of just plain having a miserable experience representing certain people.
Remember that you have the right and responsibility to investigate carefully before you accept a new client. This process starts at the initial consultation; pay attention to a potential client’s demeanor. Does he or she come across as irritable, vindictive, difficult? These are the personality traits you’ll be dealing with as you work with this person. If your gut instinct tells you this isn’t someone you want to work with, don’t hesitate to decline to represent them. If you want to do some additional investigation, you can use websites like www.usinformationsearch.com to discover information about a potential client’s background.
It’s also important, as you search for new business, not to neglect the clients you already have. Don’t forget that existing clients can be a significant source of new business, as well as being a goldmine in terms of referrals. Give them top-notch service, and they’ll not only reward you with repeat business, they’ll encourage their friends and family to use your services, too.
If you’re too busy looking for new clients, you run the risk lowering the level of service for the clients you already have, resulting in dissatisfaction and potential malpractice claims. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that you remain in communication with clients – updating them regularly, and in writing, on what you’re doing on their behalf.
Extricating yourself from a bad situation is much more difficult, and costly, than avoiding the situation in the first place.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
6050 Santo Road, Suite 240
San Diego, CA 92124