Being a lawyer comes with a lot of responsibility, but even the most meticulous lawyers make mistakes that could lead to a costly malpractice suit. There are two easy best practices you can adopt that will help prevent these costly mistakes in the first place.
1) Don’t be afraid to overcommunicate.
Just as clear communication is crucial to the success of a business, it is also important for client relations. Frequent check-ins with clients can lead them to have realistic expectations on the timelines and outcomes of a case or project. Remember that most people will not be familiar with the legal process and could have unreasonable expectations.
Most importantly, you should notify your client if you need to push deadlines back, if your billable hours are nearing their budget threshold, or if any other unexpected issues occur throughout the process of the work.
Communicating efficiently can also help you detect potential dissatisfaction and allow you to address issues as they happen – so you aren’t blindsided later on. Doing this will allow your client to decide if they want to amend their contract or agree to new timelines.
2) Get everything in writing.
Exchanges (especially those regarding finances) with your clients should be captured digitally and/or on paper so that both parties will be able to refer to these records when needed. And in case a lawsuit does come your way, you may be able to use these records as evidence.
An efficient and thorough records management process will help keep you on track to meet deadlines and satisfy your clients. Choose a record-keeping method that works best for your firm, such as hiring a legal clerk, or investing in legal document management software.
Even the most cautious legal professionals can still make mistakes and there is no substitute for having professional liability insurance when you need it. Visit our professional liability page to learn more about the risk management solutions available to you.