An Emergency That Could Have Cost Me Thousands…

This past Saturday seemed like any normal weekend afternoon. Kids were playing. 1 year old was napping, as was my elderly mother, visiting us for the weekend from Ohio. We had just returned from morning activities and lunch, and my Wife had left for an afternoon appointment to get her hair done.

So I’m left alone to get some work done at the kitchen table – nice and peaceful. But it never stays that way, does it?

Not with three kids, a dog, grandma visiting…

I should mention that our “dog” is actually a 6 month old lab-mix puppy that we adopted from a local rescue several weeks ago. She is NEVER quietly resting in her crate with the door open…

But today she was, and I made the huge mistake of thinking that everything was just fine.

Out of curiosity, I took a second to head over to the crate to check on “Lucy”.

Then the fear and panic hit. Lucy was NOT resting peacefully in her crate.

Lucy was chewing on a stuffed frog. But not just any stuffed frog, this one was a magnet for our refrigerator, and it had four of the really powerful magnets sewn into each of it’s “feet”.

Not anymore.

Lucy had managed to chew out, and swallow, two of the four magnets.

My mindspeak was going nuts with lots of colorful language.

Then I sprang into action. I wrestled the frog away from Lucy, pulled her out of the crate, and did a frantic search for the two missing magnets.

Nothing.

I locked Lucy back in the crate and did a quick google search for “what to do when your dog swallows a magnet”.

I’ll give you the cliff notes version of what I found – it could be fatal, and you need to get them to the vet immediately.

30 minutes later, after getting my Wife to scurry home mid-haircut to watch the kids (that’s another story for another day), I’m sitting in the emergency vet’s office waiting while they took Lucy into the back to try to get her to throw up the magnets.

What does this have to do with legal marketing?

Emergencies are going to happen. As lawyers, they are probably going to happen to us more than to most other professions.

How you choose to handle these emergencies can say a lot about your law practice. And I recommend that you think about – ahead of time – what does and does not constitute an emergency.

For your clients – everything is an emergency. But that doesn’t mean that it really is. I tell me clients that a true emergency means you need to call 911. Everything else doesn’t necessarily need to wait, but it can wait a day or two.

There are very few true legal “emergencies”. Having your kids taken away without your consent, freezing bank accounts, cutting off indemnity benefits. These are all various emergencies that may require immediate action.

Everything else – not such a big deal in the long run.

I’m not saying to ignore your clients when there is no emergency. Not in the least.

But do what you can to set expectations with your clients ahead of time about what does and does not constitute immediate action. Educating your clients about this can go a long way towards saving your sanity.

In case you were wondering, Lucy is fine. She threw up the magnets and it cost me $122 and two hours of my Saturday afternoon down the drain.

To Your Sanity,

Jim

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