A key aspect of risk management for lawyers is knowing when to ask for help.
Just as important is knowing how to do it the right way.
“Many people feel vulnerable when asking for help,” according to business writer Emily Heaslip and the newsletter CO. “But the ability to recognize your own limitations is a form of strength.”
Lawyers in solo and small firms should be alert to signs that help is needed.
If there is an issue regarding the lawyer’s mental, physical or emotional health, contact a confidential, experienced care provider. Get in touch with your state bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program, your professional liability insurance carrier, or a trusted colleague. Ask for a referral if needed.
If the issue involves a client or case file, the first step is to determine if the matter should be reported to your malpractice insurance carrier. Incidents that are not promptly reported might not be covered by your malpractice policy. Law firms that are insured through Alta Pro Insurance Services have access to Reminger’s ProLink for 24/7 help with a problem case. Often, the experts at Reminger are able to fix the problem without a malpractice claim being filed.
And if the lawyer has been sued (or threatened with a suit), the firm should immediately notify their malpractice carrier.
Now more than ever, solo and small law firms need a distinctive and unique brand. Otherwise, they risk being swept away by the stormy seas of stiff competition, economic uncertainty and market disruption. Alta Pro is here to help. We created the 2023 Law Firm Branding Checklist to guide lawyers in solo and small firms through the step-by-step process of building a winning brand. The checklist and accompanying blogposts cover everything from choosing the right brand to marketing your brand effectively. Discover other ways Alta Pro Lawyers Risk Purchasing Group (RPG) can keep your practice safe and successful.
4 Tips for Asking for Help
Following are some suggested steps for requesting help when you need it, courtesy of Emily Heaslip and CO:
- Make it clear that you need help. Don’t beat around the bush. Don’t waste time telling a friend about a “problem” at work, if what you really need is help with that problem.
- Be specific. “No one wants to give the wrong advice or bad help,” writes Heaslip. “Unclear requests can make it difficult for someone to gauge what it is you really need, and therefore make them reluctant to try to help you at all. Remove this opportunity for friction and confusion by making a clear, specific request.”
- Don’t be tone deaf. If you approach someone who has no ability to help, all you can do is vent. Likewise, if the person you approach is overwhelmed or stressed themselves, go elsewhere.
- Communicate exactly how you think they can help you. “When you make your request, make sure you highlight the future impact of the aid someone will give,” writes Heaslip. “For instance, when asking someone to review your business pitch, share how their feedback will help you present it to an upcoming panel of investors. A concrete outcome will make your request feel more meaningful.”
Do you practice in Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana or Michigan? Is your professional liability coverage managed through Alta Pro? If so, you’re automatically a member of the Alta Pro Risk Purchasing Group (RPG), which offers a wealth of benefits for your practice: free, cutting-edge CLE webinars featuring top experts tackling timely topics; the Pro Practice Playbook; the Pro Practice Blog; Reminger’s ProLink risk management assistance; Reminger’s Claim Repair Hotline; discounts on CLIO practice management software; tax savings on health insurance; and access to the Risk Pro, who can help keep your firm safe and successful. Register here and start enjoying your Alta Pro RPG benefits.