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Adam Schachter


I think bankruptcy is well suited to at least making reasonable projections of how a case should go. But from day 1, and more than once in the consultation, and more than once during a case signing, my clients hear the following from me:

based on what you are telling me, and what we are presenting to the court, I have high hopes that your case will go smoothly. I can't, however, guarantee success--run away from any lawyer who guarantees success. I guarantee that we will work hard for you, that we will promptly return your calls and emails, and that we will do our best to take care of you. But there is always a chance that something can go wrong, and there's always a chance that the court/trustee/whomever will disagree with our opinion and that we may have a fight. If that speech frightens them, I remind them that the fights are unlikely, but remember they are still possible.

Another theme of your post is--REGULARLY COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CLIENT!!! I wonder how many grievances are filed over a simple lack of communication? Clients are rarely calling to chat--they are worried with something. Don't ignore them b/c you have not done the work yet. You'll be surprised at the number of clients who are happy simply to hear you say (so long as you respond PROMPTLY, like the same day or no later than 24 hours after their call) "i'm running a bit behind, and i'm sorry, and you will have a response in the next few days. I am very grateful for your patience." It's worked (I think) 100% of the time for me.


Craig Niedenthal

Another insightful post Chuck. With a new client I try and spend time playing down their expectations and trying to give them as much reality as possible. If things turn out better than expected, which many times they do, they are pleased. If they turn out like the worse case scenario, at least it was clear what they could expect. You really do need to spend that initial time trying to find out really what the client is looking for, otherwise come the time to try and resolve the case, you may have a very difficult time b/c you have a client with unrealistic expectations which can never be met.

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    The opinions expressed in this weblog represent only the opinions of the author(s) and are in no way intended as legal advice upon which you should rely. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
    Charles (Chuck) Newton is licensed to practice law in all courts in the State of Texas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and all United States District Court and Bankruptcy Courts in the State of Texas.
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