At the end of a case emotions and expectations are both running high. Guest Blogger Karen Thalacker addresses the importance of preparing your client for what happens as the case winds down and a settlement is reached.
As attorneys, we do our best to manage our clients’ expectations during a case. But we may not be doing enough to make our clients aware about what happens after the settlement has been reached but before the case is fully concluded.
Here are 3 suggestions for helping your client make the transition post-settlement:
Make your client aware of how long it may take to execute paperwork following an agreement. If they are expecting that we lawyers can snap our fingers and a settlement check magically appears, they may get annoyed when it takes a little time.
If your client is pushing for an estimate of how much time, it’s better to err on the side of caution and give yourself more time rather than less.
Consider how your client will feel after the settlement. It helps to let your clients know ahead of time what those emotions might be. Clients who experience unexpected emotions following settlement are sometimes the ones that try to back out of an agreement once it’s been reached.
Never forget that this may be your job but it’s your client’s life. The longer you practice law the more confident you will be in helping them adjust to life after settlement.
Karen is a graduate of Wartburg College in Waverly, IA, and Drake University Law School in Des Moines, IA. She began her legal career as a prosecutor before entering private practice. For over 20 years, her practice has focused on family law and general practice. Karen is trained in Collaborative Law and also acts as a parenting coordinator for high conflict parents. Since 2009, Karen has served as a judicial magistrate in Iowa. She is also the Chief Compliance Officer and pre-law advisor at Wartburg College. Karen is the author of “The New Lawyer’s Handbook: 101 Things They Don’t Teach You in Law School” and also two knitting books for children. Her commentaries and guest opinions have appeared in the Huffington Post and the Des Moines Register. She and her husband Pete have 4 children.