Do Lawyers Need To Be Weekend Warriors If That’s What Clients Want?

shutterstock_96336968In response to my earlier posts asking whether today’s clients are more demanding, one commenter observed that increasingly, clients expect lawyers to schedule appointments on evenings and weekends to avoid missing work. The commenter sought feedback on how other lawyers handle these types of requests since the commenter — quite reasonably — would rather not work after-hours either.

Certainly, one way not to handle requests for weekend and evening appointments is like this: by posting a curt “Client Expectation Policy” that brags about not working weekends or providing client emergency numbers. (Editor’s note: The Pincus Law Firm in South Carolina, which authored the policy has since dissolved with its principal,Monet Pincus, now a South Carolina judge where she presumably won’t have to worry about working weekends). That said, there’s nothing wrong with a law firm gently explaining its preference to avoid weekend meetings if that’s the firm’s preference.

However, for some clients, foregoing weekend and evening meetings is not an option as it could result in a discernible loss of business to competitors who make themselves available. If that’s the case, a lawyer could reserve a single evening each week, or a Saturday or Sunday each month for client meetings – thus accommodating potential clients without significantly encroaching on family time. Lawyers can also determine whether clients are amenable to meetings by Skype or phone which they might be able to fit in on a workday – or would be more convenient for the lawyer even if conducted on the weekend.

Of course, there are also some lawyers who actually prefer after-hours meetings. Because my practice is national, clients rarely ask to meet in-person. However, my landowner groups often request an introductory conference calls or webinars, which I prefer to hold on a weekend or after hours to avoid interrupting my workday.  And when I worked part-time around my daughters’ daycare and school schedules, I often wished that I could move meetings to nights or weekends since my husband could watch the girls and free me up for additional work.

I’ve also thought that an “after-hours” law firm – nights and weekends only – would be an ideal business model for lawyers stuck doing document review. Moreover, lawyers could target this service not just directly at clients, but also offer it to other firms who could contract with after-hours lawyers for initial client meetings (unfortunately, this wouldn’t work for everyone, particularly when the client only wants to meet with a particular lawyer).

Those are some of my quick ideas on how lawyers can accommodate changing client demands while still keeping nights and weekends for themselves. But I’d rather hear whether after hours meetings are a problem for you and if so, what steps you’ve taken to solve it. The comment section is open – please chime in!

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


  1. Paul Spitz on November 3, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    I have a lot of clients on the west coast, but even then, there is enough time overlap that there is no need for me to do phone calls after 6 pm. If a client or prospective client wants to talk to me after hours or on the weekend, they need to have a credible reason why. I’m not going to talk to a client at 10 pm just because they sleep all day. Even if someone can’t call from their workplace, they can step outside at lunchtime with a cellphone to call me.

  2. Joleena Louis on November 4, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    I often accomodate clients who need to meet after hours or on weekends. But it’s based on my schedule and availability. I try to leave at least one day a week free for late meetings and one weekend a month.

    It’s easy to get new business this way since many lawyers are not as flexible.

    It’s all about scheduling. I won’t answer every client call after hours or on the weekend but if they scheduled it in advance, it’s not a problem.

  3. Mark A. Sindler on November 14, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Over the years that I’ve practiced criminal defense, my accessibility during evenings and weekends has time and again resulted in new business that may have otherwise gone missing. And it’s often been less the result of someone who doesn’t want to miss work or some other commitment than needing legal help as of 5 minutes ago. Clients appreciate that openness, although the wife and kids sometimes cringe. One way to soften that inconvenience is through the fee that is ultimately charged and collected.

  4. Bobby5000 on June 7, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Accomodating someone at night makes good sense. Someone you do have to craft limits. Client contacts you on a 750 closing and you get 4 calls in the next two days. Call him on the cell, the husband says, (it’s all included in the price). You may have to craft limits, particularly in cases of fixed fees.

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