One of my frustrations is when clients fail to show up for scheduled meetings like an L&I vocational meeting or hearings. They don’t answer calls or return messages, and don’t respond to letters. Luckily this happens as an exception and not a rule. But as an attorney it puts me in the difficult position of having to simultaneously avoid breaking any rules of professional conduct while looking out for my clients’ best interest.
To remedy the situation, I start by turning over every stone to locate my client. Having emergency contact information on file is always a good start. Sometimes the search includes contacting medical providers, checking jail rosters, and driving to the client’s house. If all else fails, I may have no option but to send a certified letter noting I’ll have to withdraw my representation if the client does not contact me by a certain date.
This is very frustrating, and I wonder how people don’t know the importance of staying in contact with their attorney when so much is at stake. I also wonder what I should do differently to prevent this from happening. However, when all is said and done, I’m usually reminded that injured workers have found themselves in some of life’s most challenging circumstances making even simple things like communication, difficult.
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