What Not To Do When Counseling Divorce Clients
Divorce is a difficult time for clients but it's also a time when they really need a legal expert. Helping a client navigate the balance between law and emotion is complicated and a lot can go wrong.
There's some evidence that divorce is 'contagious' within social networks. While sad, this can also mean repeat business for a lawyer who makes a good impression. Figuring out a good marketing strategy that also improves client satisfaction can be a huge boost.
A lot of lawyers provide divorce services but not all of them do it well. We've rounded up our top tips on what to avoid in the quest for client satisfaction.
- Don't make promises. It can be tempting to soothe a client by promising a favorable outcome but it's not a good idea long term. Guarantees are more than just a violation of the rules of ethics. They also set up expectations you may not be able to meet. Treat your clients like adults and give an honest assessment of their situation.
- Don't fool around about costs. Money can be an especially sensitive subject during a divorce, especially for the member of the couple who earns less. Too much talk of costs can scare away a client but costs hidden in the fine print damage the attorney-client relationship. Be upfront about rates and about other costs the client will have to cover such as filing fees.
- Don't ignore emotional needs. You are first and foremost looking out for a client's legal needs but divorce is an emotional time. If your client comes to a meeting and spends time unloading about divorce stress rather than discussing division of assets, be gentle. Part of building trust is letting clients know you're there for them so be ready with some tissues from time to time.
- Don't draw it out. Legal procedures take a lot of time which can be frustrating for clients. Always take the time to explain the typical timeline for an issue and how much longer you expect it to take. If your clients understand the estimated timeline, they're less likely to accuse you of dragging things out.
- Don't diss alternative dispute resolution. Divorce mediation isn't for everyone but if clients have questions, don't beat around the bush. Giving a client good information about ADR doesn't mean giving up the client. If your client is interested in mediation, offer your services to help them negotiate more effectively rather than prep for trial.
Follow these tips and you may just find yourself saving money on ads because you're gaining new divorce clients through word-of-mouth.