Accepting Walk In Clients

Whether your office is on a street front, or inside of a skyscraper, at some point a random potential client has walked into your office seeking legal advice. Love it or hate it, make sure your firm has a defined policy. Here are a few things to consider.

Why you should accept walk ins. Clients are what make the world go around, and attorneys should be accessible to their clients. Taking five minutes to meet with someone sends a strong message that you are an accessible attorney who values clients and their potential business. Even if you cannot represent the individual, you can probably point them in the right direction or refer them to another attorney. That “super-important” email you need to send can wait another five minutes.

Why you should not accept walk ins. You have allowed the client to dictate the terms of a potential attorney-client relationship. The client may now think they can stop by whenever they wish to meet with you. Most individuals understand that calling ahead is normal. If you let a potential client push the boundary at the beginning, that can set a precedent that can cause headaches down the road. If you accept a couple walk ins, the word might spread, and you may find yourself with a parade of potential clients in your lobby with no appointments.

However your firm handles the issue, make your policy is known and enforced by all members of the firm.

(photo: geminder)

1 Comment

  1. I haven’t had too many walk-in potential-clients over the years, but some. I’ve found that most of them have not turned into clients. Sometimes they were seeking a lawyer – but not the kind I am (criminal defense). Sometimes they appeared to have mental health symptoms. And so on. But – did end up with a couple good cases that started this way, that more than compensated for all the other missionary work.

    Different lawyers have different views on this question. I am of the school that holds that part of good lawyering is being available to the public to help identify and solve problems – even if most of the time that means recommending other resources the person could go to for help.

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