How Important is Follow-Up for Attorneys?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™
Attorneys are busy by nature; with all the work that goes into investigating, drawing up, and litigating cases for their clients, it’s not surprising that some things tend to fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, follow-up is one of the most problematic things which tends to go by the wayside when an attorney or law firm is particularly busy. Failing to follow up with a client, potential client, or colleague over just about any topic can cause significant damage to your reputation.
Attorneys who fail to follow-up in a timely and attentive manner may be considered unavailable at best and unprofessional at worst. The good news is that follow-up doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are simple strategies you can employ to make sure that everyone who is expecting a response from you receives one.
Make a note in your phone or computer and set a reminder when you promise any kind of follow-up.
Whether this follow-up is with a potential client, current client, colleague, or anyone else, it’s a good idea to set a reminder in your phone or computer to ensure you remember to get back to them. If you say or even imply that you are going to reach out with more information or resources, it is important to do so. There are few things worse for person-to-person relationships than feeling forgotten. It is important for everyone you interact with on a professional level to know that your communication with them is a priority.
Set a daily reminder to check and reply to any existing inquiries, consultation requests, or ongoing communication.
Choose a certain time of day to sit down in front of your computer and reply to or send those messages you’ve been waiting on. If you know there is a certain point in the day when you become antsy and seek a change of pace, maybe this is when you choose to devote 30 minutes to follow-ups. Or perhaps you prefer to follow-up with people in the last 30 minutes, as a way to cap your day before you go home. Whatever you decide, it’s important to schedule a hard time for following up with anyone who might be expecting or in need of one. Following up with people should not be something you get to only if you find the time. Timely and attentive follow-ups need to be a scheduled and prioritized part of your daily work.
If you have a particularly busy day and cannot devote the time or attention that a follow-up deserves, let that person know.
While it certainly should not be a habit, there will inevitably come a day when you have too much work on your plate to perform follow-ups with the attention to detail they deserve. If you know you will be unable to give a thorough reply or follow-up, it is still important to say something. Keeping a form reply ready to send out with a brief message is a great idea in this situation. The message should explain that you remember you owe a follow-up, but your schedule for the day did not allow you to devote the time and attention to the matter which it deserved. The message should end with a promise that you will reply within X amount of time. In most cases, it’s a good idea to reply within 24 hours of this message.
Follow up with past clients.
It’s also important to devote some time and effort to your past clients. Even if it has been years since you represented them, following up to check in with them is a great way to stay at the top of their mind; this increases your chances of a referral if that past client runs into anyone else who might be in need of a lawyer. The importance of positive referrals in the legal industry cannot be undersold, and neither can the importance of past client follow-up.
For more strategies to build up your reputation as an attorney or law firm, reach out to a legal marketing expert.