Kansas Attorneys: Seven Deadly Sins

Whether you are a solo practitioner or a partner at a large firm, the practice of law is highly demanding. In fact, it can be easy to let little things go by the wayside sometimes, especially when you are forced to be a multi-tasking maven.  Despite your hectic schedule, you want to be sure to avoid the following “seven deadly sins” at all costs.  These bad habits can lead to unhappy clients and worse, a possible inquiry by the Kansas Bar Association:


     1.  Not Returning Calls Promptly:  At the end of a busy day it can be tempting to leave the office with the light of your voicemail still blinking. However, fight the urge and return all calls the same day if possible. Most client complaints regarding their attorneys is over failing to return their phone calls. Even if you know the matter is not urgent, the client will feel better knowing that you addressed his or her concerns promptly.

     2.  Not Managing Electronic Communication: Attorneys are not the only ones living in a technically advanced world– clients live in it too! It is not uncommon for an attorney to open his or her inbox only to find hundreds of client emails. Explain to clients the priority you place on emails and that you may not necessarily respond to each email as you receive them.

     3.  Not Keeping the Client in the Loop: One reason for an unhappy client occurs when he or she does not feel like they know what is going on with their case. Keep a client in the loop by providing him or her with a written roadmap. In correspondence, set forth an overview of your legal strategy. Include what you are working on now and what they can expect to happen next.

     4.  Not Managing Client Expectations: Make sure the client understands the risks of litigation in addition to the possible rewards. All too often, attorneys find themselves in trouble when they do not deliver on lofty promises despite the attorney’s excellent work product. Remember that it is okay to tell a client that you cannot predict all outcomes. Rather, explain to clients the possible outcomes so that they can be prepared either way.

     5.  Not Being Clear about Retainer/Billing Practices: Nothing makes a client more upset than receiving a statement for services that the client does not believe is correct. Make sure that retainer clearly states how the client will be billed. Also, be sure to send regular billing statements so that the client is able to see how the retainer is being spent and how much remains in his or her account. If you are working on a flat-fee or a contingency fee basis, make sure that the client understands and signs a written retainer agreement.

     6.  Not Being Organized: It is easy with a busy calendar to miss recording a court date or a deadline. Make sure that you have a system in place so that all important dates are recorded. It is also best to have both a paper and an electronic version just in case your network experiences problems.

     7.  Biting off More than You Can Chew:  A good attorney wants to attract clients. However, this does not mean an attorney should take every case that comes through the door. Before taking a case, assess the finer points, including the subject matter of the case, the goals of the client and your experience level. Do not be afraid to pass on a case if you have any doubt that you are not up to the task or have a bad feeling about the potential client. If you would be the client’s third attorney and the client is talking about suing his previous attorneys, you may want to steer clear of that person.

If you are facing disciplinary proceedings before the Kansas Bar Association, you need an experienced and aggressive advocate to defend your professional license. The team of professionals at Sanger Law Office will make sure that your side of the story is told. I invite you to contact the Sanger Law Office today at 785-979-4353 for a free and completely confidential consultation.