Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.
When clients hire law firms to defend them in litigation, they are looking for many things. They want sound advice, they want effective advocacy on their behalf, they want to win, and they want all of this done for as little money as possible. But perhaps more important than all of this is the client’s desire not to be surprised. Indeed, there is no surer way to find yourself on the wrong side of a fee dispute or legal malpractice claim than to present a client with an unwelcome surprise. Thus, avoiding surprise—and, in particular, unpleasant surprise—is a prerequisite to keeping clients happy and, consequently, to keeping clients. What follows is a primer on how to avoid some of litigation’s nastier surprises.