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Loss Prevention Tip #42

Keys to Effective Communication with your Clients

Misunderstandings about what actions the client expected the lawyer to take, or the expected outcome/cost of a case, often result in claims.

In fact, in the Lawyers’ Insurance Programme’s portfolio lawyer/client communication-related errors result in the second highest cause of loss in insurance claims at 33%. To further understand the specific communication problems, we have broken this statistic down to seven categories:

Failure to follow client’s instructions = 25%
Poor communication with clients = 24%
Poor communication with others = 23%
Disputed instructions = 18%
Disputed retainer = 7%
Failure to obtain client’s consent = 2%
Unable to contact client = 1%

Being mindful and applying the following keys when communicating may assist you in avoiding negligent claims:

Clear: Make the goal of your message clear to your recipient. Ask yourself what the purpose of your communication is.
Concise: Your message should also be brief and to the point. Why communicate your message in six sentences when you can do it in three?
Concrete: Ensure your message has important details and facts and that nothing deters the focus of your message.
Correct: Make sure what you’re writing or saying is accurate. Also make sure that your message is typo free.
Coherent: Does your message make sense? Check to see that all of your points are relevant and that everything is consistent with the tone and flow of what your want your message to be.
Complete: Your message is complete when all relevant information is included in an understandable manner and there is a clear “call to action”. Does your audience know what you want them to do?
Courteous: Ensure that your communication is friendly, open, and honest, regardless of what the message is about. Be empathetic and avoid passive-aggressive tones.

Think about these keys every time you need to communicate something and you’ll always know you’re delivering the clearest message possible.

(Excerpt from remember-the-7-cs-to-communicate-more-effectively at