I get a lot of people who say that they were really appreciative of our correspondence with them. I have a policy where I try to call people back within 24 hours. Now sometimes obviously that doesn’t happen because I’m in court or I’m away for the day, but that’s my policy. I always try to get back to people within that 24 hours and I think that clients appreciate that.
We wait on people and I think that maybe that more down to earth mentality our firm has is appealing to people. Maybe it’s because we’re a smaller firm and because we take the time and the energy to explain things to our clients. We let them know, “Hey, this is what we do. This is what we’re willing to do for you”. I always say to my clients or my potential clients, “Hey, here’s what we think of your case. This is just my professional opinion. You don’t have to hire me, you are free to talk to other attorneys and see which one you like the best. You really need to pick an attorney that you can trust, and that you feel can do a good job for you”. I think the relationship building process starts there.
We try to let our clients and potential clients know that we’re not all money hungry attorneys that are just out for ourselves. We want them to know that they can hire anybody that you want to hire. The one thing I always tell people is make sure that you have faith in whoever you. Have faith in that person that they’re going to do a good job for you. Because once you hire them, once you sign an agreement to employ them, you’re pretty much stuck with them. You’re not always stuck with them, but they’re going to be attached to you for a little bit. They’re going to have some kind of an interest in your case depending on what type of case it is. For example, for an accident injury, they at the very least are going to be entitled to get compensation for whatever time they’ve spent on it. For example, in a criminal defense case where an attorney charges them 200 dollars an hour and they put in six hours of work. If you decide you’re not happy with the attorney anymore and fire them you’re stuck with a $1,200 bill and there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s really important to find an attorney that you can trust and get along with. If you don’t get a good feel for the attorney when you’re doing your consultation, by all means don’t hire that person. Don’t ever feel like you’re obligated to hire them just because you took fifteen or twenty minutes of that attorneys’ time.
When someone has hired us, the reason they did trust us is we took the time to get to know them personally. Every case is different, and every person is different. Every case has special factors; special things that need to be taken care of. Every person has particular fears and particular issues with the case. People and the issues is important right from the start. This is especially true in auto accidents and injuries. If the attorney dose not asks the right questions in initial consultation they are not going to be able to effectively advise the potential client. The attorney will not be able to give the client an idea of what they’re looking at unless they get all the necessary information. The simplest example is the statute of limitations. If the attorney fails to ask the client when the accident happened, take the case and then finds out later that the statute of limitations has run on it, there is now an unfortunate problem.
There’s nothing worse than having to tell that a client they you cannot help them. Especially when they have got their hopes up and they think that they maybe have a case and then you have to call them and tell them they don’t have one. Therefore I’m really careful when I’m doing a consultation. There are things that I don’t know the answer to. I will often tell a client in our initial consultation, “I don’t know what your case is worth. I don’t know if I can do this for you in the criminal defense arena. But what I can do is, I can do my case law research or I can talk to the prosecutor and get an idea and then let you know”. The one thing we’ll never do is promise anything. We don’t have that ability to make promises and to follow through with those promises as when it concerns the outcome of a case. The only promise that I give people is that I will do the best job that I can possibly do for them. Other than that, the rest is up to the courts or jury or a judge to decide.