Return Those Phone Calls

It is official. I’ve changed my address of everything up here to the country. It’s strange because many of my old clients from Houston still hire me for cases and I still have to go back there on occasion. I am grateful that these clients still remember me, because I keep getting phone calls from people I represented years ago. A note to new lawyers, always keep that same phone number, you’d be surprised how much revenue it generates over time.

I have the opportunity to purchase another law firm. I know the lawyer who is retiring and it may be a good investment, but maybe not. When you as a lawyer purchase a new law firm, what you’re really doing is buying a phone number and maybe a building. I don’t know about that. I’d have to stay in one location and I’m not too crazy about that. People who know me, know I really do not like sitting in an office from 9:00 to 5:00. In fact, I usually get up around 4:00 or so and complete my days work by 7:00, unless I’m in trial. I get a lot done without the phone ringing. I travel all over the state and other states to represent clients in court, so I really guess my office is my computer, mobile phone and car.

I’m finding out that in today’s legal environment, people just want to talk to an attorney right away, not go through several screens and then get a return phone call days later. I forward all my phone numbers and there are many, to my cell phone that I carry with me. That way, I never miss a call, unless I’m in court or it is past my bedtime.

Now most lawyers who receive a phone call from someone wanting to hire them will immediately return that phone call, but it may be months before the next phone call is returned after the retainer fee is paid to the lawyer. I guess it makes the lawyer feel more important and trains the client to the principle that the lawyer is too busy to receive the client’s unimportant phone call. I do not like that practice. I try and answer my phone directly or return calls as soon as possible. It is important to building a relationship with a client. If you are going to trust this lawyer with your life, wouldn’t you want to be able to talk to him or her when you need to?

I want a lawyer who will answer questions and return phone calls. Nothing makes me madder than someone who plays that game, that they are too important to answer the client’s questions or return the phone call. If your lawyer won’t return your phone call, ask why not. I mean, the lawyer may be out of town, involved in a case, or may be on vacation or whatever the case. But in today’s environment, even lawyers have cell phones and can check on messages most of the time.

I was in Wyoming this summer and the location where I was did not have a satellite signal, so I could only return phone calls at night from a pay phone. I did. Your lawyer should also return his or her phone calls. Also another advantage of having a cell phone, is the billing records show all incoming and outgoing calls. This can be important at some point in time.

Does your lawyer return your phone calls? I think this is important to building trust in your relationship with your lawyer. Hope you all have a happy near year, I’m off to my office in Cameron.

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