Remembering that clients are people
Posted on 6th March 2017
As a solicitor I am bound by the Solicitors Code of Conduct. One of the mandatory principles by which I must conduct myself is to act in the best interests of each of my clients.
This sounds quite straightforward. Every action I take on a file must be with getting the best result for my client in mind. However, this principle can be something that lawyers lose sight of within the modern provision of legal services. You only have to look back at the blog written by our managing partner Vidisha Joshi a year ago to see that for some firms there is a tricky line being walked.
In addition, with high caseloads and a very busy working day it can be easy to cast aside the knowledge that every client is a human with a claim that is very important to them. As solicitors we must be careful not to look at each client as merely a numbered file to be pursued or abandoned. Each client has been wronged and feels strongly enough about the situation that they have contacted a firm of solicitors to handle their claim.
Pursuing a legal action isn’t something that people take lightly. Time and time again my clients tell me that if the aftermath of their accident had been handled better they would not be bringing a claim. I hear first-hand the very real emotion in the voices of my clients as they describe an accident where they were harmed or respond to a denial of liability that makes them as victims feel attacked.
I am fortunate to be working for a firm who have a long standing reputation for helping people. They live up to this reputation fantastically. I am privileged to hear about the work Hodge Jones & Allen does with regular emails circulating internally letting each of us know of victories won for individuals in relation to all manner of legal issues. I get regular reminders of the valuable work that the firm does for ordinary people.
In turn I am able to use this positive influence to make sure that I don’t lose sight of why I chose a career in law and why I am acting for each of my clients. When looking at a file, I always stop and take time to consider the individual I am acting for. Who are they, what has happened to them, and how can I best achieve the result they want?
Acting in the best interests of a client isn’t about just barrelling through to achieve results in the same way for each and every client. I remind myself to communicate in the ways that the individual in front of me is best able to understand and to ensure my wording is appropriate for each person.
I have been through the claims process thousands of times, my clients haven’t. For most clients anything to do with the legal world is completely alien. My job is to help each and every one through this with an eye on the simple fact they are all people who have asked for help.