In this article, Janvi Ahuja of SLS Hyderabad discusses why it is a terrible idea to not address and resolve problems of your upset customers if you are in a law practice.
A lawyer is one who is licensed by Bar council of India to practice law, and whose obligation is to uphold the dignity of law, and also to protect the client’s right. A lawyer is one who is certified by Indian National Bar Association (INBA) which regulates the lawyers. A lawyer is also called an Attorney. He is one who has strived to attain the highest level of skills, to improve the law and the legal profession, and to exemplify the legal profession ideals of public service.
What is a Lawyer’s Job?
A Lawyer’s job is not as simple as it seems to be, his daily task depends on his client’s need and whether he is specialized in that area. A lawyer is bound by some norms of Court, he has to work according to the court proceedings, and simultaneously convince his clients to work accordingly. The work of a lawyer is not limited to the court but it continues beyond the bars, a lawyer has a duty to listen to his client and to make a consensus between the parties. The work varies with the field, from criminal law to divorce law, to patent law, navigating the legal system on the behalf of clients. A lawyer’s job includes counselling of clients about legal options and tries to provide their parties complete justice.
Some other tasks:
- Attend the court hearings, and doing the preparations beforehand.
- Drawing up of contracts and other legal documents.
- Explaining the laws and giving general legal advice.
- Researching and gathering Evidence
- Analyzing legal Documents.
- Supervising Legal Assistants.
- Bringing the party to Negotiation
Lawyers advertising largely depends on word of mouth
In today’s world where we have Internet and emails, people seeking a lawyer still gets the attorney name from a trusted acquaintance in a face to face, or phone conversation. When a lawyer promises a client to take up his case then they promise to bind themselves to give their best, besides this a lawyer assure the client to bring him justice. A word of mouth is most powerful advertising and biggest compliment. In the midst of working on and managing cases, going to the court, managing staff, and many other hats the law firm owners and managers wear, they forget to focus on their client relationship and to encourage referrals through word of mouth.
When people are in a need of a lawyer they often ask their family and friends rather than trusting an advertisement, word of mouth referrals are more likely to be successful because they seem natural and organic.
Why a lawyer should entertain his/her clients religiously?
If you keep your clients happy and satisfied, they will most likely refer your service to other family or friends or colleagues. The existence of a durable relationship between lawyer and a client can make and break an individual’s case. A client’s satisfaction is most important for a lawyer, it is a most valued performance indicator, it builds the level of trust between a client and the lawyer, it shows the extent to which the client feels heard and understood by the lawyer.
It further highlights that the client gets value for their money. It is a responsibility of lawyer to take the case of the client in serious mode and make the client’s experience a positive one. Beginning to think about a client relationship management strategy that is going to help you build loyalty and improve your firm’s reputation, it is the first and very important step in growth of firm. When a lawyer has a client they should not just involve in work and not just talk when his client comes to office. Take a few minutes to talk about their lives and how they’re doing. It may not be your job description, but it helps your client see you as a person and not just an intimidating attorney. A lawyer should treat his client as a God, because a client is the one because of which he is earning for his livelihood. Clients are like bread and butter, if there are no clients there is no bread and butter. Even after a lawyer’s job is complete he should be in touch with his client, just because his client doesn’t have an open case doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Send a monthly or a quarterly newsletter to keep them up to date on your services. That will build your reputation in the eyes of the client.
Why is it important for a lawyer to resolve the problem of upset customers?
A lawyer job is to deal with his clients, it is the client which makes him employed as the clients pay the lawyer, and without clients there will be no lawyer. A lawyer should know how to handle their clients and how to counsel them. Client counselling is an art and a basis for establishing a good career in law. When dealing with a client a lawyer needs to maintain strong professional relationship in order to get closed to client, to build a trustworthy relationship and to bring them to a comfort zone.
A Lawyer-client relationship is a fiduciary relationship. Lawyers are problem solvers, they act as a help to the client in case of a dispute. A client’s perspective of thinking might differ from the opposite party, it may create dispute, but this does not means that they end up their professional relationship. It is the duty of lawyer to console his client to negotiate with his spouse to bring back the matrimonial relation. It all depends on the lawyer that how effectively he conveys his message to clients and brings them to consensus.
There are many responsibilities a lawyer has, which goes beyond court trial. A lawyer is a hope for their clients. When a client comes to a lawyer, he comes with a belief that the lawyer will do something to provide him justice. A client comes with a firm faith in the lawyer, believing that the lawyer ensures them a proper administration of Justice. There are two main task of a lawyer that is to protect the dignity of law and to protect clients right. So a lawyer is bound to resolve to problems of the upset customers. As when a customer is satisfied he believes in law, and the justice mechanism.
What should a lawyer do when the client is annoying and makes frequent visits and phone call?
It is a common lament among lawyers: “clients constantly call and ask me the same questions. I am tired of repeating myself, what to do? The answer is to understand and manage the client’s anxiety, communicating proactively, and training clients. For a client a case is a big thing for him, a criminal case, divorce, and a lawsuit are all stressful and can affect the client’s entire life, family or business. This creates an anxiety which results in repeated calls from clients and creating disturbance of lawyers. But the clients who are constantly calling does not have an intention to cause trouble to you, they just want to end the problem in a smooth and steady manner. A client might think that that the time give to his case is not enough, or the set expectations are not fulfilled regarding your availability.
When you prepare for a new client introduce them to a new policy and definitions of legal terms, make them aware of the court proceedings and the expected time a case may take, this will prepare a client mentally and they might not disturb you unnecessary. The client call is an opportunity for a lawyer to gain his trust and confidence. Clients who call constantly are engaged and looking for their answers. Instead of treating it as a nuisance, think how to improve your work to give your best to your clients. Setting clients expectation at the outset of the engagement, supplying the written information, giving regular updates and employing proactive communication practices can help combat clients anxiety and reduce calls, but some hand holding just goes with the ‘trusted advisor’ territory. Consider it a cost of doing business.
How should a lawyer tackle situations where a case is slipping out of hand? What should a lawyer do to uphold his faith on clients in such situations.
Think like a client, a client approaches you to settle his case in his favor, or the case may be. And he trust you, this is the reason he approached you. So now if the situation is slipping out of your hand it is your duty to make assure your client that he will give his best to bring him justice. A client comes to you for what you do, but also for who you are. The clients stay for what they want, which means we have to consistently meet their needs and fulfil our commitments we make to them. In a situation where the lawyer feels the case is slipping out of their hand, they must disclose the facts to their clients and must make sure that they are giving their best. Explain the client what is going wrong and assure them that you will bring back the case in his favor. It is important to uphold the client’s faith to maintain them as a client.
The golden rule of trust
- Make decision Promptly- no one trusts indecisiveness
- Respect Opinion- You don’t have to agree, but do show respect for differing views.
- Walk the talk- Don’t overpromise and underdeliver
- Communicate- keep channels of communication open, even when there is not much to report.
Duty to the client.
An advocates duty is as important as that of a judge. Advocates have large responsibility towards the society. A client’s relationship with his/her advocate is underlined by utmost trust. An advocate is expected to act with utmost sincerity and respect, his conduct should be diligent and should conform to the requirements of the law. A lawyer is under an obligation to uphold the law and to ensure that the public justice system is enabled to function at its full potential.
- An advocate is bound to accept any brief in the court or tribunal or before any other authority, in case he is his client.
- An advocate shall not ordinarily withdraw from engagement, once accepted, unless there is a reasonable cause or sufficient notice given.
- It is the duty of client to fearlessly uphold the interest of his client by all fair and honourable means.
- He shall defend the person accused of a crime regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of accused, bearing in mind that he is loyal to the law which requires that no man should be convicted without adequate evidence.