Law Practice Management and Technology

The Bottom Line Volume 36, No 2, August 2015

MCLE Self-Study Article Managing Client Expectations During the Attorney-Client Relationship

By Neil Pedersen, Esq.

This article is posted in our self-study catalog.
Click here for information on how to access 1.0 study credits

What our clients believe will or should happen when they engage an attorney is often not based on knowing anything about the process, the law, or even reality. Their beliefs are fashioned from such stable and reliable sources as the television, social media, relatives, friends and their experiences with other vendors of services in their lives very different from attorneys. They come to us with these beliefs and expect us to satisfy their needs, which includes expectations created by those beliefs. When we fail to do so, we are viewed as flawed, we are considered failures, and even more nefariously, as purveyors of malpractice and fraud.

It is amazing how few attorneys attempt to discern client expectations, and a similarly large number of us foment or create expectations that we may not be able to satisfy. In this article I intend to discuss the importance of determining client expectations, some thoughts about learning what they are, and most importantly how not to create expectations that will make it difficult for you to have a happy client at the end of your engagement.

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