As a paralegal, you learn to balance multiple clients demanding your attention while fulfilling the requests and expectations of the organization you work for. From a client’s perspective, their case is a top priority, if not the most important priority on their schedule. It is your job to manage multiple client cases at once. To help reduce your stress, consider using these four tips to help manage all of your clients’ demands.
Listen and Repeat
It’s essential that your clients know that you hear and understand their objectives. To build your client’s confidence, you must assure them that you hear and understand their priorities. When communicating, either electronically or over the phone, get into the habit of repeating your client’s goals and desires in your own words. This will help assure them that you fully grasp their needs and expectations. Also, take the time to practice deep listening–avoid rushing the conversation, or getting distracted by other responsibilities.
Under Promise, Over Deliver
For every task and objective you need to complete for your clients, you need to clearly communicate the deadline upon which you will deliver the requested information. While work should be delivered within a reasonable timeframe, practice setting up a timeframe that gives you enough flexibility to attend to any last minute commitments that may arise. However, try setting your sights on exceeding your client’s expectations by delivering the information early. While you may not be able to exceed your client’s expectations in all circumstances, they will be delighted when you deliver faster than expected.
Keep Them Updated
Another way to successfully manage multiple clients is to communicate with them on a consistent basis. Reaching out to your clients, giving them both general and detailed updates, conveys two key ideas to your clients: first, that they are top of mind; and second, that they are an important priority in your workload. Some updates can be as simple as touching base with them to assure them that you will deliver their work by the expected deadline, or giving them more detailed explanation of where you are in the process. If a situation arises that prohibits you from delivering the work you have committed to, then you need to let your clients know as soon as possible.
The best way to manage your clients and caseload is by creating policies, procedures, and systems for organization. This can be done in a variety of ways, and methods may vary from person to person. Nevertheless, proper organization should include the following: a structured timetable for all upcoming project deadlines, an organized to-do list, and an organized method of storing all work files. Also, keep as much work as possible in easy-to-access and easy-to-share electronic files. This allows you to quickly pass along pertinent information to your clients, and to the counsel you are working on behalf of.
As a paralegal, you are sure to have some clients whose expectations and communication needs are significantly more challenging than others. However, by implementing the communication strategies and tactics included in the four tips detailed above, you can build trust with your clients, and a respectful working relationship.