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Tracking Client Communications in the Digital Age

There are two major components to practicing law: handling the case so the client doesn't have to, and communicating with the client just what it is you're doing. Both can be overwhelming.

Now add the fact that you have to keep track of what you told the client just to make sure you're following best practices. This underscores something that every lawyer should know -- but not all lawyers do: documentation of client communications.

The Lawyer's Hallmark: The Yellow Pad

It's time for one of those "in the good ol' days" speeches again. In the good ol' days, much of the client communication log between the lawyer and his client was pretty much captured by the notes a lawyer made to about clients in the privacy and sanctum of the attorney's office. Those notes were taken down on the symbolic yellow pad.

Client Communication Chaos

What lawyer really uses the yellow pad anymore except to maintain certain archaic traditions? If you're below the age of 65, you're more likely to communicate with your client through Skype, email, and -- not recommended -- social media. We can't even begin to get into the perils of "friending" your client. We've already seen what happens when you "friend" the opposing side.

But clients are demanding greater and greater access to their attorneys and insist on being able to text them at odd hours in the evening. Although there are electronic records of all of this, due diligence and best practices practically require that you place that communication into your client's file as soon as that communication is made. You can only imagine the time commitment this would require.

Practice Management Software

Unless you have a secretary on hand who loves punishment, the practical solution to this is to invest in some practice management software and sync that program to the other programs and devices you use to communicate with your clients: phone, mobile device, email, Skype, etc.

Many attorneys don't care for the idea of handing out a mobile number to clients, but you can give them the next best thing: a Google Voice number. There are certain proprietary programs which allow you track practically all communications coming in from clients no matter what form they take (sans snail mail).

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