A recent blog post about why lawyers don't return client calls sort of rubbed me the wrong way. That was the intention of the poster to a certain extent as he indicated many prior treatments of the topic were sugar coated. The post was entertaining and provocative, but I wasn't inclined to pass it along to others.

Well, leave it to my honorary cousin, Laura Calloway of the Alabama State Bar, to pull out some key points from this post for a responsive post of her own: Maybe Your Lawyer is Drunk? She makes some good points and shows her good humor on the topic. She also includes a link to the original post.

I often talk to young lawyers about the importance of returning client phone calls. The failure to do this promptly creates larger problems than may actually be justified. Many clients have no idea how many calls a lawyer may receive daily. So they may take the non-return as personal when the lawyer is simply applying triage by returning the priority calls first. Calls about a matter when nothing is scheduled this month or when the client wants to repeat the same conversation for the third time this week get a lower priority than some others. Clients rely on lawyers to handle things that they cannot. So the "failure" of the lawyer to do something simple that anyone can do raises concerns about how everything else is being handled.

The successful lawyer will have a written policy on how quickly calls will be returned, cover that policy with new clients when new matters are opened and make certain law firm staff understands that their job is to help return calls when the lawyer is unable to do so. It is always better for the client to hear from the staff than to hear nothing.

Cousin Laura and I agree on one thing for sure. Return those phone calls and stay out of trouble.