Now there is a brilliant title,
right? Obviously, any client who sues for malpractice (or even files a
grievance with the state bar), is probably not going to hire you again. Not to
mention how many people they will bad mouth you to. Okay, so that is pretty
darn obvious. But stay with me a minute.
Last year around this time, I did a post
about poor client communications being the most common reason grievances
are filed against lawyers with state bars. And I pointed out that such lack of
communication with clients is just baffling from a marketing perspective.
Well, it seems that the lack of
communication is also the "number one cause of malpractice claims"
according to Dan Pinnington, practice management advisor with Lawyer's
Professional Indemnity Company in Toronto, in an article that appears
on Attorney at Work. He goes on to give his top 10 tips "for avoiding a
malpractice claim." They include: getting the assignment in writing and money
up front; managing client expectations; documenting everything of importance;
sending periodic and final reporting letters; never suing for fees (only gets
you a counterclaim for malpractice); and going with your gut when it says to
not take on a matter.
Additionally, he recommends several
tips to avoid claims that are near and dear to my heart, and are really, really
just plain smart from a business development standpoint. They are:
Not only should you avoid the things
that can lead to claims, especially when they are not even close to being
malpractice, but rather, just poor marketing practices.
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