By: Ally Lozano, CEO and Founder
One of the biggest fears a client has is that the lawyer is going to take his money and run. Many clients are scared that if they do not hear from their lawyer then it means she is not working on the case. This is in addition to the fact that most clients come to lawyers when they are going through hard, stressful, scary, and overwhelming situations and they are desperate for the help that only you can provide, so they want to be sure that you are doing it.
The main way to alleviate client fears is by over-communicating with them. At first it may feel strange to communicate with your clients just to tell them that you have nothing to say ("Hi, nothing is going on in your case right now. All is fine. I just wanted to let you know."), but you will see that your clients will appreciate hearing from you.
Here are some tips on how to over-communicate with clients in a way that keeps your clients informed while at the same time not being annoying:
Send Generic Monthly Update Letters
Each month send out a generic monthly update letter that tells the client if his case is either active, pending, or if you are waiting on the client. The letter that we use describes what an "active" case means (i.e. we are working on it right now) and what a "pending" case is (i.e. all is submitted and we are waiting on the next step/ decision). The "waiting on the client" is self-explanatory and is a nudge to the client to get in touch with you. These letters have really motivated clients to get in contact with us and give us what we need to process their cases.
Send Case Specific Monthly Update Letters
Though it takes a TON of work, having streamlined letters that you can send to clients based on case type is extremely important. Each of the case types that we handle in our office has monthly update letters that we send that are specific to that case type. The letters explain what is happening in the case right now, what can be expected next, and give a short overview of the entire case. U Visa Client Communication letters
"Touch the Case, Call the Client" Policy
In our office we have a policy that if you touch a case you must call the client. This means that even if you are doing filing and come across something that needs to be filed in the hard or e-file for the client, you must call the client. This gives you and your staff an excuse to give the client a call and check in about the case overall.
Monthly Client Calls
Though it is difficult to do, try to call every single client once a month just to check in. It is hard if you have a lot of clients, but if you make it your goal you will likely be able to call them all at least every other month. Sometimes email updates work well depending on your Ideal Client, but a phone call, text, and/or email will go a long way to let the client know that you are dedicated to his/ her case.
When I implemented this for myself, I realized that it allowed me to get a deeper look into what is going on in each case so that I could make sure everything was done how it needed to be. For example, sometimes a case is pending but there is some matter that will need to be dealt with at some point in the case. By going through my MyCase notes very quickly before the call, I am able to get a snapshot of where we are in the case, where we are going, and then be able to maximize the call with the client. Though it sounds like a lot of work, the average monthly call lasts about 90 seconds. (Yes, I time them!)
If there is a confusing issue that you have discussed with your client, be sure to write a letter or email to them summarizing the issue. Again, you can keep it short and concise by using bullet points to summarize the points, but it is important to confirm conversations to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Also, wisdom from seasoned attorneys says to "fill up your clients' mailbox" with letters. It is impossible to send your client too many letters about their cases. (And this is why in some ways letters can be preferable to email)
What ways do you like to over-communicate with clients?
About your Ally in Life, Business and Law:
Alexandra "Ally" Lozano is a national award-winning attorney and the founder of AMIGA Lawyers and Alexandra Kennedy Immigration Law.. After becoming a mother, and in a matter of 3 months, Ally transformed her practice from earning in pesos to earning 6-figures and she is passionate about teaching attorneys how they can do the same. Ally empowers lawyers to be the CEOs of their law firms with her weekly blog, webinars, and conferences where she teaches step-by-step how to do the work they love while running a profitable legal business. Ally lives outside of Seattle with her husband and their 5 children.