December 11, 2020 Practice Points

“E” is for Educating the Client: Set Reasonable Expectations

Client education should begin at the very first meeting and does not end at the conclusion of your case.

By Sahmra A. Stevenson

Clients need to know the likely outcomes of the parenting and financial issues based on statute and case law. It is much easier for a client if they know what is likely to happen at the beginning of a case rather than being surprised in court when the judge makes a ruling. It is also more efficient to negotiate final settlements if the client knows the parameters of the possible outcomes at trial.

Client education should begin at the very first meeting and does not end at the conclusion of your case. Completing your job sometimes requires follow-up on important issues that the client likely has no idea how to predict (e.g., opening a file with the Office of Child Support Enforcement so that support payments can start or completing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and what to expect when awards from a former spouse’s pension finally pay out).

Lastly, an educated client is easier to work with and more likely to return. If clients recognize your advice as being valuable, worthwhile, and easy to follow, they are more likely to follow your lead as you shine a light on the best path. If you are in the practice of sending out newsletters to keep clients up-to-date or establishing your social media presence and brand, identifying yourself to your clients as a trusted advisor (hint hint) during the representation is an important place to start. 

Sahmra A. Stevenson is the founder of S.A. Stevenson Law Offices, with offices in Greenbelt and Columbia, Maryland.


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