Spring 2019 Gavel Spring Gavel 2019 - Page 15

calls, be available for walk-ins, or to just focus on client matters without interruption. If you fail to establish, and then protect your productive time, who will? If it helps you to follow through, block out these times in your calendar and give your staff the authority to help enforce these boundaries. Next, let every new client know what your communication policy is and work to educate your current client base as to the changes. You might place a short paragraph in your engagement letter or new client information sheet. Let them know when you will be available to take and return calls and explain what an emergency is and what it isn’t, so everyone is on the same page. Staff can take messages and offer what assistance they can when you are not available. Establish a policy on responding to email and, as a risk guy, I strongly suggest you allow yourself time to carefully consider your response to any substantive inquiry. Shooting out an immediate response to every email that comes in is a bad idea. How about text messages? I find them to be quite an annoyance. As with email, establish a policy and let everyone know what it is. If you don’t want clients texting you, you will need to tell them and also explain why. For starters, I immediately think about preservation, miscommunication, and acknowledgement problems. I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck am not going to have my cell by my side every minute of every working day so I can check every text I receive as they come in. In fact, my phone is off more than it’s on when I’m on the road. In my mind, this issue is so important the following bears repeating one last time. In order to effectively manage your attorney-client relationships, you must help your clients help you do what they have hired you to do. If you happen to now be, or ever find yourself, a little irritated at being bothered by some of your clients, I encourage you to consider whether or not the problem might be you. If and when it is, that’s good news because you can definitely do something about it. You just need to decide to do so. Truth be told, how do you think my kids and I all made it through their teen years? I took my own advice and considered what my role in any relationship problem might be. All I can say is, it made a world of difference. Disclaimer: ALPS presents this publication or document as general information only. While ALPS strives to provide accurate information, ALPS expressly disclaims any guarantee or assurance that this publication or document is complete or accurate. Therefore, in providing this publication or document, ALPS expressly disclaims any warranty of any kind, whether express or implied, including, but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. Further, by making this publication or document available, ALPS is not rendering legal or other professional advice or services and this publication or document should not be relied upon as a substitute for such legal or other professional advice or services. ALPS warns that this publication or document should not be used or relied upon as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your professional practice, business or personal affairs. Instead, ALPS highly recommends that you consult an attorney or other professional before making any decisions regarding the subject matter of this publication or document. ALPS Corporation and its subsidiaries, affiliates and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss or damage sustained by any person who uses or relies upon the publication or document presented herein. SPRING 2019 15