Strong arming a new client to sign up - or not

  Photo:  Cristina many years ago.

Photo:  Cristina many years ago.

Cristina asks if she can come along to the new client interview.  It is her first time.  We drive to the nursing home.

The woman is relieved to see us.  Her family is with her.

On the one hand, am happy that can provide reassurance and help.  There are so many fears and questions when one has been in the hospital/facility for over a month.

On the other, it is sad to see people who are hurt and scared.  As the woman tells us her story,  can see Cristina looking down trying not to cry.  My eyes well up, but am able to keep tears from dripping down face.  Not always able to do that though.  Which is okay.  There's nothing wrong with letting a hurt person know that you hurt for them.

John has given me a packet that has a retainer agreement, intake form, and authorizations.  Don't pull them out of purse until about an hour has passed.  Then this is what happens - don't let the woman sign them.  Even though she wants to.

Suppose it is because of disgusting "ambulance chaser" label that people put on personal injury lawyers.  But especially when meeting someone in a hospital or nursing home.  Don't like the visual image of having them sign papers while the attorney hovers over their shoulder.

Instead, tell them to spend time with the documents.  At least spend the night thinking it over and making sure everything feels right.

Is there a risk the person may talk to another lawyer and go with them.  Sure there is.  But then that means we were never meant to be together.

We stand and are getting ready to leave.  One of the relatives asks for a business card.  Our cards are quite nice.  Double sided with a pretty logo.  They are however, not in purse.  Go through the motions of digging for them.  But unlike the lawyers on t.v. do not have one to whip out.  Two of the relatives are laughing as they give me their cards.  Meanwhile, find a pen and write my phone number on the paperwork.

Suspect that many lawyers who read this blog will think am doing this all quite wrong and/or am quite bonkers.   Perhaps.

But the next day, the woman calls and sends in her paperwork.  And it feels good to know she chooses me because she really wants to.  Not because I've pressured her even one tiny little bit.