Scope of Representation
In prior years, Brian Tannebaum attempted to mentally keep track of who called him and who hired him, but he wound up forgetting a lot of the details. This year, he made some changes. On a monthly basis, he’s reviewing prospective clients who called, as well as who referred them, who took their calls, their case types, and whether he was retained. The percentage of calls-to-retained used to be “most.” Most potential clients that came to his office retained me. He made it easy. He’d bring them in, spend some free time, smile a lot, negotiate the fee, and get the case. Now that percentage has gone down, way down.…
So the matter/case (whatever you call it) is over. You’ve resolved the contract dispute, formed the corporate entity, ended the marriage, had the criminal case dismissed, resolved whatever the client’s issue was for which you were retained.
You’ve taken Brian Tannebaum’s advice and narrowly defined the scope of representation in your written, signed retainer agreement. Now what?
Most everyone knows what an elevator speech is: it’s a short, pithy, memorable description of a company’s services. Lawyers have always built their reputations on their expertise, such that the creation of an elevator pitch should be one of the easiest things for an attorney to do; however, many lawyers still stumble over the basic question: “What do you do?”
Be forewarned: Brian Tannebaum is citing case law here, so if that scares you, stop reading now. There are two things lawyers are doing wrong when it comes to scope of representation, as in, “What is your obligation to this client?” The failure to comprehend this critical concept begins when you are retained, and rears its head again when the representation is over. So let’s talk about the dumbass things you are doing to complicate your life, and how to fix them….