Red Flag: Vetting Potential Clients Is Easier With a List

Sailors use a series of flags to indicate danger; Billy Joel occasionally names albums after such flags.

Lawyers ignore red flags – at least when they relate to client engagement.

As has been discussed in this space, attorneys tend to avoid the intake process.  And a byproduct of that is that law firms often engage with clients they shouldn’t – largely because they haven’t done enough due diligence in the lead phase.  Attorneys tend to ignore their gut feelings about the potential for longstanding pain on a specific engagement, when there’s a check (virtual or otherwise) on the table.

But, books like the ‘Checklist Manifesto’ have shown that simple lists can be really effective in helping professionals to make big decisions.

If you don’t have a list of red flags for potential clients, you may end up stepping in it down the road.  Maybe you think those red flags are so obvious, they’re not even worth writing down.  But, they are – if for no other reason than that they speak to your client vetting process, and will keep you in line on close cases.  Plus, the act of establishing some red flags will likely generate some more, beyond the basics – essentially guaranteeing that you will have a more comprehensive vetting process than you do now.

List-making is a harbinger for efficiency; and, it keeps a lot of business professionals out of trouble.

So, if you find that you keep regretting adding the clients you take on, maybe it’s time to become more circumspect about whom you engage.

. . .

Need help developing client selection criteria?  We can help.

The Wyoming State Bar offers free law practice management consulting services through Red Cave Law Firm Consulting.

To request a consult, visit the Wyoming State Bar’s law practice management page, and start running your law firm like a business.

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