Don't Be Like Cool Hand Luke: Lawyer Client Communication
It is of crucial importance that meaningful communication is maintained between the lawyer and client throughout the recovery process. A lawyer that fails to effectively communicate with their client can be headed for trouble. The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel is responsible for investigating bar complaints against attorneys in the State of Missouri. Every year they release an annual report of what causes the most bar complaints. In 2018, there were 685 complaints opened as formal investigations. A whopping 315 or 45% of all bar complaints where due to lack of communication with their lawyer.
I have heard horror stories and have seen from reviews of other firms how bad some attorneys are at making sure their clients are informed. I recently read a review of a major St. Louis personal injury firm that accuses them of settling their client’s case without the client’s knowledge. The client further accused them of then keeping the settlement hidden from the client in a bank account while the firm collects interest. This accusation is likely bogus, but the fact that someone was kept in the dark so long on their case proves the point that poor client communication can cause major problems.
If your attorney does not have systems in place to let you know what is happening, you may think the worst. This is crucial in the area of personal injury law as the recovery process can take months to years. General practitioners will likely not have any system in place to make sure you are contacted to know what is going on. They will take longer and you may not know why, which could cause you to be more anxious than if you hire a firm that is dedicated to personal injury.
At The Gerring Law Firm, we are proud of our track record of keeping clients informed. While we may not call you every day while your case is progressing, we will make sure you know what is going on beforehand and when you can expect us to contact you next. Setting our client’s expectations for the next step in the case process is extremely important to our representation.
While we will do our best to contact you throughout the process, communication is a two-way street. We expect our clients to maintain some responsibility for communicating back with us. Our personal injury contracts are designed with this goal in mind. We have a stipulation that the client must keep us reasonably informed about what is going on with their case. We need to be on the same page at all phases of the case or there is a good chance your case could be hurt by this lack of communication. We expect our clients to let us know about major status changes such as when they are done treating or if they change medical providers.