As the name suggests, answering questions with questions is a good way to engage your client. By asking questions via requests, your client cannot miss an opportunity to learn something new.
When issuing a request, your client has to put her mind and heart into it. So, how can your client learn if you have the answer to their question? By adding a bit of creativity and opportunity for learning in the request.
2) When Should You Decline to Comply With a Client Request?
It is rare for a law firm to decline a client request for any reason other than not being required to do so. This can be an emotionally difficult decision to make, but in the end, it is your choice to say no or yes.
If the requirement is legal, then the answer is always yes. If the requirement is non-legal, then the answer is usually no.
Many times when a client request is illegal or malformed, the law firm may be forced to comply due to court orders or self-help books for clients. If this happens to you, know that your response may be needed in court or by another client in the future.
When should you decline to comply with a client request?
There are a few situations where refusing a client request is the best choice. The most obvious one is when the request is illegal or unethical.
Another good reason to decline a client request is when the request is too difficult or too broad. A broad request may be asking too much time and resources.
A more subtle reason to decline a client request is when the requested item does not exist and/or there is no reason to create it. When these things do not exist, there may be cost-savings in creating them.
When declining a client request, make sure that you are being honest and that you are being accepted for your abilities.
Could you get in trouble for declining to comply with a client request?
It’s possible to get in trouble for declining to comply with a client request. There are several reasons a attorney might decline to follow a client request, including the risk of sanctions or enforcement action on the part of the parties involved, the attorneys’ personal conscience, and/or professional ethics.
For instance, an attorney may mount serious research efforts in an effort to help his or her client but may not want to be involved in the process of obtaining such assistance. Or, an attorney may mount serious research efforts in an attempt to help his or her own personal reputation but cannot bring herself or himself to comply with a request that might have such effect on him or her.
In fact, one study found that nearly half of all practicing attorneys (and nearly all partners) report having been asked by clients to perform acts that they knew were illegal or improper during the past five years.
What should you do if your client issues a malformed or illegal request?
In the rare scenario where your client issues a malformed or illegal request, you can answer with one of the following responses:
If the client has issued an invalid request, you can inform them that their request has been processed and that they should wait until the next step in order to continue. If the client has issued a valid request, then you can tell them to relax as they have received what they wanted.
If your client is experiencing performance problems with their website or application, you can tell them to wait until the next step in order to fix the problem. Once they do, they can try again without worrying about overhead due to repeated requests.
It is important to note that if this happens during busy times such as weekends or holidays, then your agency will need to take care of it immediately in order to regain customer service response.
What should you do if your client asks you to violate the law?
At that point, you as a legal professional have two options: report the violation to law enforcement, or report the violation to your client.
When reporting a violation of the law to law enforcement, you must include all relevant details about the violations including the date and time of each violation. Law enforcement cannot just assume that you have reported violations if they do not receive information about them from you.
If your client reports the malformed or illegal request to security, your job is done. Law enforcement has received and addressed the malformed or illegal request, and security has addressed your client’s or their device’s requirement.
However, many times security needs to be contacted again. Sometimes security does not address all requirements correctly and reports as a repeat offense.