Loss Prevention Tip to Law Society PI Members
LOSS PREVENTION TIP #2
Failure to communicate effectively with clients is the common factor in a large percentage of errors or omissions claims and also in a huge number of complaints to the Law Society. Law Society discipline staff report that a significant number of the complaints they receive involve lawyers not returning phone calls or not advising the client about what is happening on the file. While failing to return a phone call may not be negligent or actionable per se, a client who feels neglected, uninformed, snubbed or ignored is far more likely to bring a claim than a client who has been consistently kept “in the loop” by his or her lawyer throughout the process.
Perhaps the simplest way to keep your client informed about what is happening on a file is to send copies of correspondence and pleadings. Some law firms make efficient use of what is essentially a form letter, generated by support staff, enclosing a copy of the most recent correspondence and inviting the client to call the lawyer if they have any questions. A low-tech but ingenious twist on that concept is the very effective use of a rubber stamp reading “Forwarded to you by ABC Firm for your information”. A client who is kept informed and up-to-date by letter, email or phone call (even, or especially when the news is bad) is less likely to sue you or to write a letter of complaint to your governing body. (Excerpt from Issue #151, CLIA Loss Prevention Bulletin)