Over several years in our work as California injury lawyers we have heard far too often from people who contact our office seeking to replace the lawyer handling their case. They complain that their lawyer doesn’t respond to their phone calls or they don’t have any idea what is going on with their case. As lawyers, we work for our clients. We have attorney client agreements with them and it is our job to keep clients apprised of important events that affect their cases. We all owe this duty to those we represent and it is a duty set forth in our rules of ethics. Those rules state that lawyers must “keep a client reasonably informed about significant developments relating to the employment or representation, including promptly complying with reasonable requests for information and copies of significant documents when necessary to keep the client so informed.” An attorney is not subject to discipline for failing to communicate “insignificant or irrelevant information” (California Business & Professions Code section 6068(m)).
As professionals we must remember that unreturned calls make the caller feel unimportant, ignored or worse. This is an insult to our client and causes clients to look for a different lawyer who is responsive and empathic. No one goes to a lawyer because they are happy and content. People seek professional help because they are involved in a dispute they can’t resolve on their own. They’re frustrated, angry, hurt, injured, economically challenged and/or in need of help and advice. Keeping this in mind, lawyers who are not responsive might think twice about how they treat their clients.
When dealing with those who have suffered personal injuries and or sustained losses that affect them physically and psychologically, it is critical to stay connected with clients. As is true of many personal injury firms, our firm is a contingency fee law practice. This means that the client does not pay an hourly fee and does not generally pay the costs of litigation but, rather, we pay the costs and are repaid what we spent and are paid a fee if and when we resolve the case either by settlement or trial. Many personal injury law firms have similar arrangements with clients, but it’s important for members of the public to make sure that they understand the fee arrangement with whomever they retain.
We represent clients with catastrophic injuries like paralysis or the loss of a loved one. We are careful to provide complete and continuing contact and information so that they are part of the case as it progresses. We want them to be comfortable with the fact that we are providing service in an ongoing manner even when a case is moving slowly through the court system. For example, when handling discovery (the collection of information on which the case will ultimately be presented) which is requested by the other side, we help clients understand what is required of them. This is important for any lawyer-client relationship and you should expect this from any lawyer you retain for any reason. It has always been important to us to make sure our clients have access to their lawyer and to someone who can explain things as they progress and assist them in the preparation of the responses to questions and discovery.
Some firms will actually require clients to deal only with paralegals, rather than a lawyer in the firm. A client retaining a firm needs to know whether this will be the case for them or whether they are hiring a firm, such as our firm, that does not force them to only speak with a paralegal. Having said this, the paralegals in our law firm, like the lawyers, provide compassionate and understanding advice and information. This should be a goal and requirement of all firms and, particularly, personal injury firms.
If you or a loved one has been injured you should demand high quality and compassionate representation. At The Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth we provide exactly that. Call our office at 888-809-1075 24/7/365 and you can speak to an attorney or visit http://www.gblegal.com We Can Help!