Client X came back 5 months after I had closed his file. He hadn’t wanted to pay to continue his case and, like with many clients, I wanted him to be well and had waived a small balance on his account at the time.
I want all of my clients to have successful outcomes and find happiness.
Sadly, 5 months later, I am threatened to demand a 1/3 return of his retainer or I would be trashed on review sites online, reported to “relevant authorities” and my office would be picketed.
This the equivalent of someone going to Shoprite, getting groceries, eating them and then deciding they didn’t want them anymore and deserved a refund.
In this instance, Client X really did stay up all night watching television and placed negative reviews on as many sites as possible. The reviews painted a one sided and inaccurate picture of all I had done in the case, and of how fairly I believe the client had been treated.
Days later, a woman called the office on a busy Monday morning, was nasty to my staff and then went and gave us a one star review because I couldn’t give her a same day free consult.
With the emergence of the internet as a source of referral, people have realized they have a lot of power to negatively impact small businesses. When I want to go to a restaurant, go to a movie, pretty much do anything, I am looking at reviews and weighing whether this is a worthy spend. I am sure potential clients do the same with my law firm.
I have a lot of positive reviews. The negatives almost always come because of unrealistic expectations about money or time. People have a lot of mythology about how the legal process works and often expect us to be able to control what courts do or what opposing attorneys or their ex does. They also expect us to do it all without charging them for our time, despite the clear language of the retainer agreement. Every client deserves fair time.
We do charge for time and expertise. It is how I pay my hard working employees, how I keep the electric buzzing, how I afford the licensing fees, insurance, legal education programs, technology, and the all-important coffee. I bill ethically, appropriately…but I do bill for my time. My staff and I lose sleep at night over some of our cases, because we truly want the best for all our clients and we turn ourselves inside out to try to make things work out to their highest good. We earn every dollar and many dollars we are never paid.
Here is what I can promise you is always true of your experience with our firm:
- We will tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.
- We will charge you, but for the time you use in accordance with the retainer agreement.
- You will receive a statement monthly so you know where your bill stands.
- We will hear and address any reasonable complaints about billing or anything else.
- We will always put your interests first, protect your privacy, and try to propose practical solutions.
- We won’t encourage you to use the legal system for revenge, because that is expensive and often useless – we want to help you get out of bad situations with the best possible outcome permitted under the law but the law rarely addresses the real feelings our clients struggle with – just the dollars and cents and the property and the best interests of children.
- We do not, EVER, engage in the practice of prolonging litigation so as to increase your bill (a practice of many attorneys)
- We will also not tolerate abuse levied at our staff. Unfortunately, because this is a difficult time in the lives of many of our clients, they occasionally feel empowered to take it out on staff. Although we, again, welcome reasonable constructive criticism, yelling at or being abusive to staff will cause us to fire a client. We want you to stand up for your rights to not be abused, harmed or the victim of toxic situations in your life and we stand by and fight for that for you – we will also stand up for our rights to the same thing.
- We promise to always try to do the right thing. We are human beings, and we may make occasional errors like all human beings do – and when we do we will make that right to every possible extent. But we are human beings dedicated to working with and living with integrity.
If that’s the kind of lawyer you want in your corner, call 856-227-7888 for a free initial consultation. Read the reviews, positive and negative. Then make up your own mind.