[APG Public List] Repeating client's work

LBoswell laboswell at rogers.com
Thu Jul 22 07:42:50 MDT 2010

In a lot of cases I find that even more important than adding clauses 
(though such clauses are fail safes),  good communication and dialogue with 
the client is fundamental to avoiding future misunderstandings. The client 
is usually frustrated by a block of some sort, and has tunnel vision, and a 
low patience threshold.  He/she wants the answer by the shortest route, 
meanwhile forgetting that sometimes even after years of their own effort 
they couldn't get it themselves.  But professionals are supposed to have a 
magic wand that breaks down that door with a couple of clicks of a mouse.

I spend more upfront time talking to the client (often actually "talking" to 
the client by phone), or using a Chat.  It not only opens up the client's 
realizations about how and why I'm going to approach the research, it 
establishes a personal relationship of sorts,  a precedent for future more 
amiable contact.  If I find the client is stubborn, demanding, and has 
unrealistic expectations then it often emerges in these conversations and I 
turn down the commission

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael John Neill
  To: Elissa Scalise Powell, CG ; APG APG Public
  Cc: IsraelP at pikholz.org
  Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 9:31 AM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Repeating client's work

  You might even wish to consider putting "please initial here" by specific 
sections of the contract to indicate that they have actually been read. It 
is still no guarantee, but would add one level of "you knew that because you 
initialed that specific clause of the contract." I've signed contracts where 
specific sections had to be initialed to acknowledge the content of those 
specific sections.


  On Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 8:14 AM, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG 
<Elissa at powellgenealogy.com> wrote:

    I like Michael's advice on what to put in a contract to prevent such
    questions. In this case, now that the horse is out of the barn, you 
    tell her that not only did she not provide it but you needed to examine 
    to correlate the data with other evidence you found. She is not just 
    you to find records but to analyze them as a whole in the context of 
    other and the historical times her ancestor lived in.

    If she wants to micro-manage the project, then it may be beneficial if 
    pays you for a research plan she can act on. She may quickly come back 
    you and have you conduct the research once she has tried it.

    Best wishes,

    Elissa Scalise Powell, CG
    CG and Certified Genealogist are Service Marks of the Board for
    Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certificants
    after periodic evaluations by the Board.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: On Behalf Of Israel P
    > Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 4:15 AM
    > What do you folks do when - after asking client the three basic 
    > what do you know, what do you want to learn and what resources have 
    > already checked - client then says "Why did you spend two hours on 
    > and such?  I already looked at that."
    > She didn't include that resource in answering the third basic 
    > so as far as I knew, this was a new investigation.  (Let's ignore that 
    > might have found something that client herself missed.)
    > Do you have to tell client in advance exactly what resources you are
    > planning to investigate?  That can get awfully cumbersome - next thing
    > she'll want to know exactly how many units of fifteen minutes will be
    > spent on each resource!
    > I mean you can hardly just say "Tough luck.  I asked what you had done
    > yourself and you didn't mention this resource."
    > Israel Pickholtz
    > Jerusalem

  Michael John Neill
  Casefile Clues-Genealogy How-Tos
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