I get phone calls and emails, and read Facebook posts, from people who have unresolved issues from legal representation or other legal services. provided by another lawyer. They seem to find it simply too hard to give direct feedback to lawyers.
No lawyer is perfect.
Our job (i.e. the job of lawyers in general) is to tell clients what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Clients do not always appreciate that. Lawyers also do not always manage it gracefully.
We (i.e. lawyers in general) also cannot pick and choose our clients – unless we are already too busy, or the work is outside our competence, we usually have to act for anyone who can pay our reasonable fee.
Sometimes we (i.e. lawyers in general) ‘get it wrong’ – though usually in ways that can be fixed before they cause significant or irreparable harm. Without feedback, we do not always know this.
Lawyers are required to inform all clients about how to make a complaint. This information will be in the terms of engagement, or client-care information, provided at the start of the work. Sometimes that information is on the law firm’s website rather than provided to each client individually in writing. (Use it! If you cannot find it, ask!)
If this will help, clients can use our form (below) to send specific emailed feedback to lawyers. The items listed for ranking are from the preface to the Rules of Conduct and Client Care for Lawyers. They are intended to help specify any issues. They are also intended to draw clients’ attention to other aspects that their lawyers have done well. If clients give negative feedback to lawyers, it is more likely to be respected and actioned if the feedback is fair, specific, and accurate.
Most lawyers will try to rectify a problem if they are informed of it. They should be given a chance to do so.
Cheryl Simes – 27 July 2018