Clients expect their attorneys to be available. A law firm that ignores client emails or phone calls will not be a law firm for long. Even in an age when most firms measure their response times in minutes, inattentiveness and inadequate communication are among the most common allegations in disciplinary and legal malpractice complaints.
But what if the client is failing to adequately communicate, or has disappeared entirely? What if the attorney's calls have gone unanswered while a statute of limitations approaches, a settlement offer awaits, or client funds sit idly in a trust account? Exactly what an attorney may, should, or must do in these situations can be jurisdiction and fact-specific, but taking certain precautions will help prevent "missing client" scenarios, or at least mitigate the professional risks they pose.