Clients matter

Principle 5 of CILEx's Code of Conduct (Code) shines a bright light on how to behave towards your clients and the standards your clients can expect from you.

Many of you will have become lawyers because you are interested in using the law to help people with their everyday problems. This can range from helping someone to buy or sell their home to helping someone buy more cars to grow their taxi business.

None of this work is possible if you don’t have clients. Principle 5 is dedicated to helping you put your clients at the centre of your daily work.

A letter can help you have a positive relationship with a client or put your relationship under a dark rain cloud that follows you and the client around for the time you work together.

An important piece of research, completed last year on client care letters, identified some key principles to help you build a better relationship with your client.

Clients feel that letters are too complicated and not easy to understand, and that there is one rule for the lawyer in terms of deadlines but another for the client.

Some complaints are about letters being written in a way that is belittling and designed to make a client feel dependent on their lawyer.

Outcome 5.7 of the Code asks you to explain, in clear terms, to your clients what you will be doing for them and how. This includes:

  • How much it will cost
  • What work you will do
  • How long it will take
  • What will happen

What does this mean for you and how can you help improve this situation?

If you get it right, not only will you build a strong relationship with your client, there also will be fewer complaints made against you.

Eight principles for improving client care letters, which you can apply to all communications, are here to help you improve the experience for your client and you:

Take a look at a recent article about why we have a Code of Conduct and a related article on client care letters to help you meet your obligations under Principle 5 of the Code.



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