Attorney Ben Schwartz talks good customer service and answers the question, “What should I do if my attorney will not return my phone calls?”
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz.
Today, I’m going to answer a viewer question: “What should I do if my attorney will not return my phone calls? I don’t know what’s going on in my case.”
Unfortunately, this is something that happens all the time. We have a constant stream of people that contact our offices who want us to take over their existing case from another lawyer or another law firm. We always ask, “Why do you want to get rid of your first attorney? Why do you want to get rid of your first law firm?”
The answer is usually the same thing, “I keep calling to find out what’s going on with my case, and no one will call me back. I can’t get through to my attorney. I can’t speak to my attorney. I’m frustrated and I’ve had it. I want to go to a law firm where the attorneys actually call you back.” At Schwartz and Schwartz, we try to give our clients the best customer service. I always talk to folks in these situations and try to explain that when you’re dealing with an attorney, you’re dealing with someone who probably spends a great deal of time in either court, mediation or arbitration sessions. Often, when you hire an attorney for a personal injury case that attorney does not really have a significant office practice. Your attorney spends most of his or her time out of the office going from event to event, from court hearing to court hearing, from trial to arbitration, from arbitration to mediation, etc. and that person is generally not in the office if you call and try and get him or her on the phone.
I’m not trying to excuse poor customer service, but there’s usually a reason why attorneys don’t call their clients back in a timely manner. We get a lot of people that call through the course of the year with the same issue. We always tell them the same thing: “You should call your attorney’s office and ask to speak to your attorney’s assistant, paralegal or secretary and explain the situation…that you want to switch law firms and go somewhere else. Before you do that, make an appointment to sit down with your attorney. Discuss what’s going on and why you’re not getting a callback. By making that appointment, sitting down, and having a one-on-one conversation, you can explain that this is not acceptable customer service behavior. You may find that they will change their ways. If they do, great! You get to continue with the attorney who’s been handling your case who is probably going to do a good job for you, even if their customer service skills are not up to snuff.
If you sit down, explain your feelings and they don’t change the behavior, then come to our office. We’ll take a look at your case. This way, you’re giving a second chance to the attorney who is under-performing. Maybe you’re creating a learning experience for that attorney who, by the way, never had a class in law school called ‘Customer Service 101’. You’re giving your attorney the chance to grow as a professional and do a better job for you going forward. If you have an attorney that won’t call you back and not responding, call the office. Make an appointment. Go in and meet with them and if that doesn’t solve your problem, then get a different attorney on board and fire the first one.
I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz. I hope that you found this video informative and helpful. I certainly hope that you are not having a problem with your lawyer. I think that people deserve to have a good relationship with the attorney who is representing them.
If don’t have a good relationship with the attorneys representing you, then follow my advice. Call their office. Make an appointment, sit down with them and explain the problem. Let them have the opportunity to fix it. Only after they don’t fix it, go to another attorney and get someone who can help you and has good customer service and client service skills. You want an attorney who understands that you have to keep your client informed. If you’re an attorney, remember that you have to call your clients back. You have to keep them apprised of the events in their case.