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Top Ten Tips to Avoid a Claim

  1. Avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest – when in doubt about a particular matter; consult the Model Rules, trusted colleagues, or the Bar for general feedback and guidance.
  2. Define and document scope of representation – use written retainers detailing what services the firm will perform, and will not perform, with regard to a particular matter.
  3. Confirm responsibilities of lead and local counsel – you must document each counsel’s respective responsibilities
  4. Confirm calendar deadlines
  5. Don’t dabble or, if you must dabble, seek input – learn to say “no thanks” and refer folks to experienced colleagues in that area of law
  6. Think twice before giving advice to the Board – if serving on the Board of Directors for a client, be sure you make clear whether you’re acting as a Board Member or the entity’s attorney.  The best rule is to serve either as a board member or as corporate counsel, but not both
  7. Communicate bad news, views and settlement demands ASAP – clients prefer honest bad news to unrealistic forecasts.  The best practice is to give them regular status reports, in writing, and tell it like it is.
  8. Communicate with clients – return phone calls and respond to client’s written inquiries promptly.
  9. Attorney Stress – set up a mentoring program within the firm and look for early warning signs of trouble.  Establish cross checking systems and review the firm’s incoming mail to catch problems before they escalate.
  10. Send closure cards and letters – Use thank you cards and closure letters that bring formal closure of your representation but also serves as a marketing tool to express appreciation and to welcome repeat business.  You can also convey your policy on retaining clients’ files and include a client survey or questionnaire.

 This list was compiled by ALPS and is based on the claims experience within their company

Supreme Court Rule 42(9) requires all NH admitted attorneys to notify the Bar Association of any address change, home or office.

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