Claims resulting from miscommunication or breakdowns in the lawyer/client relationship can often be traced back to the early stages of the retainer. Did the lawyer truly understand what the client wanted? Were the clients expectations reasonable?

Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, writing in the Attorney At Work blog, gives five questions for new clients that lawyers should be getting answers to at the outset. These questions will help you build trust, manage expectations and clearly define the work to be done.

Here’s what you should be asking (click on the article for full explanations of each):

  1. Why did you come to me?
  2. How will we know we’ve accomplished your goal?
  3. What worries you most about this matter?
  4. Have you ever worked with a lawyer before?
  5. How would you like me to communicate with you?

See also the LAWPRO Magazine article Draw Clients a Roadmap to Avoid Communications Claims, for more tips on getting you and your client on the same page at the start of the relationship.

Categories: Communication Errors