Help Your Business Thrive

Part of maintaining a good attorney-client relationship is communication. You should be talking to your attorney, but you should not be pestering them. Not only do you not want to annoy your attorney, but also you don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. Every attorney has a different approach to communicating with their clients. Some communicate as needed, and others have a schedule to follow up with their clients just to check in with them. Here are some times you should be calling your attorney and times when you can probably skip it:

1. Do Call if You Have an Upcoming Deadline or Court Date

If you have a court date, closing date, or other deadline coming up in a month or a few weeks, and you haven’t heard from your attorney, you should reach out. Sometimes attorneys get busy and don’t realize how soon dates are and, unfortunately, there can be other times where they didn’t get notice of the date for whatever reason. It is always good practice to confirm dates you learn from sources other than your attorney to ensure everyone is on the same page and that preparation is happening as required. That being said, some deadlines and court dates don’t require preparation, but there is nothing wrong with checking in when you have one coming up.

2. Do Not Call if Your Attorney Said They Will Get Back to You

Often times when your attorney says he or she will get back to you and is taking some time, it is because she is waiting for someone to call back or something to happen. Research and inquiries to get answers to your questions can take time. Be cognizant of when your attorney may not have control over something. For example, if your attorney is waiting for opposing counsel to call them back before she can update you, she probably does not want to waste your money and time to call and tell you that. Sometimes being patient is important, so give your lawyer some grace.

3. Do Call if An Attorney Says She Will Follow up and Doesn’t

The previous point being made, if your attorney gives you a timeline by which you should hear back, then you should follow up after one day passes, (unless you have a time-sensitive matter in which case follow up immediately). Lawyers are human and sometimes forget or are mistaken and think they called you but didn’t. Either your attorney or her firm will tell you that she doesn’t have any updates or can put you on your attorney’s calendar to chat. Either way, no harm in following up if you were expecting an update and did not get one.

4. Do Not Call Your Attorney the Day She is Back from Vacation

If your attorney was out of the office, give her at least a day or two to settle in before contacting her, unless the matter is urgent. Emails add up quickly, and usually after vacation lawyers are looking at time-sensitive stuff first. You may be on her list of calls to make and just have to be patient for a few days. Also, it can take a day or two to catch back up, so your attorney may not even know the most recent status of your case right when she’s back.

5. Do Call if You Have Not Heard Anything for over a Month

Unless your attorney explains very specifically that it will be a while before you hear from them, a month is a long time to go without speaking to your attorney. There is nothing wrong with calling and at least talking to staff to get an update on your case. Even 2 weeks is a long time if you have an ongoing project which should be moving along, just do not be the guy who calls every day or every hour – (yes, some clients really do that).

6. Do Not Call if Your Attorney’s Staff Told You She Will Call You Back

Staff at a law firm are generally very in the loop on everything, if there’s an update they can give you, then they will. However, they can’t control the attorneys and what they do, so when staff tells you that your attorney will call you back, that means they’re either relaying a message from or will send your message to your attorney. Be kind and courteous because legal staff are often overworked and underappreciated. (Realistically, they are the unsung heroes of law firms and no amount of thanks yous could cover the work they do for the attorneys and clients.) I had the privilege of working as an executive legal assistant and with some amazing staff before becoming an attorney, and I can confidently say that staff are always doing their best to get you responses and answers as soon as they can. Also, be open to speaking with staff because, again, they generally know the answers to your questions. Sometimes they have more information than your lawyer does because they see updates and take calls as they come.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this article is for purely educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or tax advice.

Categories: