How To Improve the Image of Attorneys and Serve Clients More Effectively
Harry S. Truman once said “Always do right; you’ll gratify some and astonish the rest.” That should be every attorneys motto when dealing with their clients.
The image of the attorney has deteriorated to the crises stage. The law schools, bar associations and Ohio Supreme Court should address this issue, since it has resulted in people seeking non-lawyers for their legal problems.
All too often people who have legal issues are afraid to talk to a lawyer. They may have had a bad experience themselves or heard a horror story about someone they know.
Some of those in need of legal assistance are desperately afraid of dealing with an attorney, who they don’t trust or who they are afraid will overcharge them. The result is they may purchase fill-in-the-blank forms from office supply stores, try to do complicated matters themselves or risk breaking the law to get legal work done by a non-attorney who claims to know what they are doing. The result is a mess that may cost them tremendous money and/or hardship.
There are simple rules that all attorneys should follow to rebuild the fractured image of the legal profession.
Attorneys need to be more sensitive to the client’s needs. The average person that is in need of an attorney is at a vulnerable time, often confused and anxious. Allow them some leeway to express themselves and understand their pain.
Attorneys should treat their clients with respect and treasure their trust. It is a tremendous duty to assist someone and that has to be done with great care.
Attorneys should be committed to the principle that their client always comes first and the attorney works for them. It is a great honor to be retained as a legal counsel and it should be every attorneys goal to do the work quickly, accurately and without problems.
Attorneys should do a better job of communicating with their clients by keeping them updated with their case, returning telephone calls promptly, and sending them updates on relevant changes in the laws.
Using legalese might confuse someone, so it is better to use simple language. That doesn't mean talking down to your client, but making sure what you are saying. If your client doesn’t understand what you have told them, you have failed in communication which could lead to more problems, not the least of which if their anger toward you.
Attorney should treat their clients with respect and not speak to them condescendingly. Because it can be stressful and expensive, the client may not be 100 percent happy with their legal experience, but they should feel that thier attorney gave them excellent representation and worth what they paid. They should have all of their questions answered before the legal relationship ends.
If all attorneys could follow these simple guidelines the image of the attorney would improve greatly.
Marc L. Stolarsky, Esq.