NHBA Insurance Agency
Top Ten Tips to Avoid a Claim
- 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.
- 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.
- Confirm responsibilities of lead and local counsel – you must document each counsel’s respective responsibilities
- Confirm calendar deadlines
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Communicate with clients – return phone calls and respond to client’s written inquiries promptly.
- 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.
- 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