I wish to share some ideas of what a client expect from an outside counsel. Please make an exam of yourself in each of these points and make a commitment to improve the needed areas. It will help us be better lawyers. What a clients expect in a Lawyer:
1. Technical competence
2. Local knowledge
3. Able to really listen to the client and asking the right questions
4. Respect the clients time. Don’t make unnecessary calls if you’re following it with an email or letter with same content.
5. Clearly state on the mail or letter if an action o decision is needed from your client
6. When sending emails, use explicit “subject” lines. Avoid using just “Contract” or “Pending Litigation”. Probably your client has more than your “Contract” or “Pending Litigation”.
7. When making an analysis:
– report the case
– make an assessment
– indicate the options
– make a recommendation
– be sure to indicate when a decision is to be made
8. Always return your clients mails and messages
9. Respond promptly and honestly about the merits of the case. Clearly state the probabilities of winning, cost involved and what is to be expected in 30, 60 and 90 days.
10. Use plain language when making a report for a client. Keep the complex legal language for the courts.
These notes where part of a presentation during the International Lawyer Network 2007 Regional Meeting that took place last month on the Bahamas.