Monday, June 2, 2008

Lawyers are counselers

Lawyers are often refered to as "counseler." I heard many times in law school, and from other lawyers since, that this term is more descritpive of the role lawyers play than most would think. As Norm Pattis discusses here, clients often need a lot of hand-holding. They will call at all hours of the day and night looking for updates, looking for advice, looking just for reassurance. Many calls won't be about the case at all, but will be about other difficulties in the client's life.

But time is money, and unfortunately, one can't be on the phone all day with a client about his or her difficulties in life. There is work to be done. As Norm notes, charging the client for the time can be a way to discourage this. Another good practice is good communication - if you keep the client well informed as to what is going on at regular intervals, there is less room for anxiety. Litigation can take a long time. It is easy to think you've been forgotten if nothing has happened on a case.

I'm not sure what the best solution for this is, beyond what Pattis stated. He did post a followup when one of his clients read his post and wrote to him to express appreciation for the hand-holding.

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