The duty to keep clients informed rests on attorneys, not clients. Here are a few steps clients can take to try to secure effective communication with their lawyers:
Establish, in advance, clear understandings about case updates. If an attorney’s practice is to initiate contact only when a development occurs, the attorney should indicate that to the client at the outset of the representation. If a client wants (and can pay for) regular updates regardless of whether developments have taken place, that too can be spelled out in advance—even included in a written retainer agreement.
A client who phones his or her attorney with a request for information can indicate a willingness to speak with the lawyer’s associate, secretary or paralegal. The lawyer must be too tied up on other cases to return the call personally, but may have time to pass the information to through an assistant. And because some lawyers have poor communication skills, the information coming from an assistant may be superior to what would have come from the lawyer.