Responsiveness Shouldn’t be Unusual in Law

In our firm, we pride ourselves on responding to clients within at least a four hour window, unless we’re in hearings or discoveries. The response may simply be “I’m working on a deadline right now, but I’ll get back to you by the end of the day” but it is a response.

I cannot tell you how many times I’m told by new clients that this response time is unusual: it shouldn’t be. If a client is reaching out to us, its because they need help. This isn’t usually a time of calm for them, it’s a time requiring action, or at the very least a plan.

Because I have over 27 years experience as a lawyer, I know how long things take to accomplish. This means I can set realistic deadlines for work clients want completed. Of course, I generally like to use the “Scotty Principle”. Scotty was a character on the original Star Trek and he always over estimated how long a repair would take in order to shine in the eyes of his captain when it got done sooner. Our firm uses the Scotty Principle – this ensures the client has a timeline in which they know they’ll get their work back and they’re usually thrilled to have it sooner than the timeline. Of course, it also gives us a buffer in case we get a rush that needs to take priority.

If your lawyer isn’t able to respond promptly or give you a timeline for work completion, you need to ask why. The answer may tell you its time to find another lawyer.

Inga B. Andriessen, JD