Monitoring Client Expectations Could Reduce Claims

Clients complain when they do not get what they expect. Often, clients are disappointed about the result obtained, the cost of the lawyer's services or the amount of time it took to complete the matter. Lawyers who want to avoid claims of malpractice or professional misconduct should discuss the expectations of their clients at the outset and throughout the representation. If the client’s expectations are unreasonable, explain to the client what his or her expectations should be – what is reasonably attainable, what is not, and why. If the client’s expectations are unshakable, it is usually best to decline the representation or, if it has already commenced, terminate it. No amount of good lawyering will ever completely satisfy such a client. If termination of the relationship is impossible or inappropriate under the circumstances, at least make a written record of the client’s refusal to accept sound legal advice. For a more detailed treatment of this topic, click on the following article: “Clients Focus Wrath on Unmet Expectations,” by Thomas L. Browne. These are among the dozens of topics contained in the subscription pages of this web site.