As stated by James C. Turner, executive director of HALT, a national legal reform advocacy group in Washington, DC:
“One of the most frequent complaints his organization gets is that “the basic communication between lawyers and clients is terrible.” He cites one case where a client tried 13 times in a two-week period to contact the attorney. That’s the type of situation that leads to mistrust and, ultimately, to a consumer fraud complaint.”
Poor communication between attorney and client is also the most common reason clients file complaints with state bars. A failure of communication is not only unwise from a grievance standpoint, it is just dumb marketing. Even if the client may not need your services again, the client is likely to tell a number of people, who could be potential clients, about their unhappiness. That is one of the reasons I wrote Letters for Lawyers: Essential Communications with Clients, Prospects and Others. (I know, I know – terribly self-serving, but what the heck I’m just trying to help the ABA sell more books).
There are scores of opportunities (in addition to keeping the client informed about their matter) to contact clients, referral sources and even prospects; and the more contacts made the better. The best way to communicate would be with handwritten notes, next letters and lastly e-mails. Obviously, they are in reverse order of ease of accomplishing, but think about what impresses you the most. E-mails have become an annoyance to many, and not as personal in my view. The important thing, however, is constant communication.