5 Warning Signs Your Law Firm Is Losing a Client

Law firms work hard to bring in new clients. In some cases, firms even devote large marketing budgets to ensure their intake phones keep ringing. When your law firm loses a client, all those hours of work and resources go to waste. This becomes an even larger problem if it happens consistently.

There are many reasons that attorneys lose clients, but it typically involves issues with client communication. Without proper communication, any relationship will deteriorate, and that’s particularly true when it comes to lawyers and their clients.

If you’re concerned about losing a client, then you should know that there are five major warning signs your client is considering moving on.

1. Your Client Is Frustrated with Your Service

One of the first warning signs that your firm’s relationship with a client is in a downward spiral is that the client seems consistently frustrated with you or your team. This happens when a client feels as though your firm isn’t doing what they hired you to do.

Hallmarks of a frustrated client include frequent, concerned calls and second-guessing your approach to their case. Essentially, the client feels like they are their own case manager, and they subsequently lose trust in your ability to do the job.

In many cases, a client’s frustration means that either your firm isn’t doing a great job of communicating your efforts, or you didn’t properly set expectations when you accepted the case.

2. Your Client’s Demeanor Has Changed

If you’ve noticed a significant change in your client’s demeanor, it could indicate that they have grown unhappy with your service. This shift could take many forms, including hostility, detachment, or skepticism.

Noticeable shifts in demeanor are different than a client simply being frustrated with your services. They indicate that your client is mentally checking out in their dialogue with your team.

These changes can happen gradually, or they might occur after a major setback in a case. But once a client’s attitude toward your firm has changed, it can be difficult to earn back their trust, and it might be a sign that they’re considering taking their case elsewhere.

3. Your Client Doesn’t Trust Your Judgement

A telltale sign that your client relationship is on shaky ground is when they begin to doubt your judgment. This can manifest in various ways, such as openly questioning your legal strategies or showing reluctance to follow your advice. When a client starts to believe that their interests might not be best served by your decisions, it’s a clear indication that trust has eroded.

This lack of trust often stems from a disconnect between the client’s expectations and the realities of their case. It might also arise if the client feels that their opinions and concerns are not being adequately considered or addressed.

Rebuilding this trust requires a proactive approach, demonstrating your expertise and commitment to their case, and ensuring that communication is clear, frequent, and transparent.

4. Your Client Has Stopped Communicating with You

One of the final warning signs that you’re losing a client is unresponsiveness. You or someone from your firm might leave several unreturned messages or phone calls. Typically, unresponsiveness follows the other red flags mentioned above.

At this stage, it’s likely that your client is considering other legal counsel and potentially already talking to other firms about taking their case. It’s not yet impossible to win back a client who has lost faith in your ability to do their case justice at this stage, but it’s best to act before a client even reaches this point.

5. Your Client Is Seeking a Second Opinion

When a client starts seeking advice from other legal professionals, it’s a significant red flag indicating dissatisfaction with your services. This step usually comes after a series of frustrations and doubts about your firm’s capabilities. Seeking a second opinion often means the client is no longer confident in your firm’s ability to handle their case effectively.

This behavior can be especially concerning if the client does it discreetly, without informing you. It suggests a deep level of mistrust and dissatisfaction. To prevent a client from reaching this stage, it’s vital to maintain open lines of communication, provide regular updates, and address any concerns promptly.

Consistently Losing Clients Is a Sign That You Should Re-Evaluate Your Service

Most law firms occasionally lose a client. Sometimes a client and a law firm simply aren’t the right fit. However, if you consistently lose clients, the chances are good that it’s time to examine your processes to determine when and how problems are arising.

Effective client communication is essential for any law firm. Even if you do incredible work on their case, the client won’t understand your value if you don’t communicate with them regularly and address their concerns before they have time to fester.

If client dissatisfaction is happening at your firm, it’s time to drill down on areas you can improve upon. Ask for feedback from a client who chooses to hire someone else. Identify the hurdles they faced when dealing with your firm and revisit your team’s processes to create a better experience for future clients.

Struggling With Client Communication? Let backdocket Help

At backdocket, we understand the challenges facing small- to mid-size law firms. We’ve built our practice management software to help them meet those challenges.

Law firms using backdocket consistently tell us how significantly our software has improved their relationships with clients. When you use backdocket, you and your team always know a case’s status. You have centralized notes from previous client calls so you can pick up conversations right where you left off. The right tool can have a huge impact on a firm’s processes. If you’d like to learn more about how backdocket can improve your team’s services, contact us today to schedule a free demonstration.

Originally published August 2, 2021. Updated December 18, 2023.

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