The 5 main reasons why clients fire their lawyers

The 5 main reasons why clients fire their lawyers

Unhappy clients = poor reviews + lost money!

As a lawyer keeping your clients satisfied must be one of your main objectives. Despite this many lawyers do little to address the main reasons why clients fire their lawyers.

In this article we will look at the most common reasons, and how it can be prevented.

1. Bad Communication 

Clients want to be kept informed. Lawyers should remember that for most clients going through any legal matter is probably one of the most stressful and important issues of their lives, and they have chosen a particular lawyer to help them navigate through it. They want to know that their case is being handled effectively, and that they understand every step of the process. There is no excuse for not keeping a client informed.

Not communicating often and effectively is a huge reason why clients fire their lawyers.

How to prevent

Do not wait for your client to ask you able their case. Tell them first!

If the lawyer cannot return a call or email, delegate. There is no reason why an assistant or secretary should not do so.

From the start of a Client-Lawyer relationship take the time to learn how often a client would like to be notified, what their preferred communication method is, and their biggest concerns. Set expectations from the beginning to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

2. Unethical behavior or misconduct.

A lawyer has ethical obligations to their clients in accordance with the Spanish Code of Conduct for lawyers

These are absolute and mandatory and include:

  1. A lawyer MUST act in the best interest of the client BEFORE their own.
  2. The lawyer has an ABSOLUTE duty of confidentiality.
  3. A lawyer MAY NOT act where there is a conflict of interest.
  4. A lawyer MUST disclose any conflicts when asked by a client.
  5. Legal fees and charges MUST be fair and reasonable.
  6. Lawyers MUST achieve the most cost-effective resolution.
  7. A Lawyer is obliged to inform his client about the feasibility of the case.
  8. A lawyer MUST provide regular case updates.

How to prevent


3. A Bad Relationship

Sometimes relationships between a client and lawyer can be difficult. Differing belief systems, world views, mannerisms, or behaviours can keep two people from connecting, and this sometimes can cause the end of the Client-Lawyer relationship.

How to prevent

Know when to be the lawyer, and when to be the friend.  Be empathetic and support your client. Be more human and deepen your connection with clients to help them realize you are not just there to make money. They will remember your support and empathy long after their case is settled, and tell others.

Screen your clients. Take the time to interview and screen any potential clients before formally taking them on. Ensure they are someone you actually want to work with and prevent a sour relationship before it can even begin.

4. Over-promising and Under-Delivering 

We all want new clients and sometimes we make promises we cannot keep.  This is a short term strategy. It is far better to play the long game, and be realistic, honest and ethical, rather than risking it all to land a new client with only short-term benefits.

How to prevent

By being realistic and explaining the range of possibilities for a case from the beginning, a lawyer can clarify any misconceptions, and manage a clients expectations.

It is also vital to keep a client informed throughout the case so they know what is going on.

5. Bill shock

Price objections are only an issue when the client does not see value for what they have paid. No one expects a lawyer to be cheap, but clients want to receive value and do not want to feel taken advantage of. Many people already have negative associations with lawyers and their “ridiculous” fees.

This is another issue that comes down to communication. It is up to the lawyer to clearly and effectively communicate what the clients are paying for, and the value they will receive with no hidden surprises.

How to prevent

Be proactive and transparent about price. This does not mean itemizing every minute of time. It simply means that clients knows exactly what they are going to pay and when, and exactly what they will receive for the payment.

This can be done by publishing fees on website, or by setting out in writing what the fees will be at the start of the case in easy to understand language.

Ensure invoices are clear and easy to understand and explain the amount of work and experience that is being put into their case, and by whom.



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