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Talk to clients, don’t write to them – especially status memos

CounseltoCounsel, Nov. 2006 at 9, quotes Michael Roster, at the time the general counsel of Golden West Financial, in the context of status reports in-house lawyers prepare for clients (See my post of Aug. 1, 2006 on reasons to do and not to do status reports.).

Roster volunteers that “his internal client surveys show that memos receive the lowest scores in terms of keeping the client apprised of legal events.” Memos are boring and they aren’t read until they are relevant, if they are even remembered at that time. Worse, they take time to do well. Far better, Roster says, to talk informally with clients when you want to keep them up to date.

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One response to “Talk to clients, don’t write to them – especially status memos”

  1. yclipse says:

    As an outside attorney, my take on the best approach is:
    Use memos to provide and document in-depth analysis of a particular issue, whether legal or factual. Recognize that the client will read it when he can, and that may not be right away.
    Talk to the client by phone and/or e-mail about current events and the general strategy we are following. (This allows the two of us to shape the strategy and to ensure that we are both thinking about heading in the same direction.) If by phone, follow it up with something in writing which will memorialize it – either an e-mail or a letter.