Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Don't Answer The Phone

We don't have a live human being serving as the telephone receptionist at Harding & Associates Family Law.  Instead we have a very fancy, very useful voip telephone system.  When someone calls our office the phone system walks them through the phone tree to their desired extension.  If that extension is mine the caller is most likely going straight to my voice mail -- by design.

Busy family law lawyers know there are rarely enough hours in the day.  Client meetings, court appearances, document and discovery work, legal research and analysis.  Effective time management is critical.  So is focus.  If I am opening the mail, checking my email, drafting interrogatories, and answering my phone simultaneously I am not managing my time effectively, and I am not focusing on one task.

Our work takes concentration.  Ours is an intellectual craft.  Going thin compromises the required focus.  When I am in the office, four times per day (roughly 8 a.m., 11:00 a.m. , 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.) I check my voicemail.  All messages left by 4 p.m. (2 p.m. on Fridays) are returned the same day (unless I am on vacation).  If I am away for some extended period of time my paralegal will retrieve my voice mails throughout the day and get back to the caller.

This process is explained to our clients when they hire us.  They know what to expect, they know why we are doing it.  They know their calls will be returned.  This lessens their anxiety and frustration, and the headaches for all of us.  In fact many clients acknowledge the soundness of the policy when it is explained to them.

You might ask what about the potential new client calling us?  I have found it is not a problem.  The majority of our new clients comes to us by way of referral.  They already know I am busy.  In this day and age most are not expecting to have any call answered live, and they always leave a message when sent to my voice mail.  Those new callers who have a  "emergency" are rarely going to be a suitable fit for our practice, particularly when we quote a consultation fee, so that is not an issue.

There is one more benefit to our process, it is wonderful for filtering out sales people and telemarketers!

Please visit for more information about Harding & Associates Family Law 

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