Difficult clients can create a range of well-being problems for lawyers, with everything from emotional to financial impacts.
Some difficult clients are easier to spot than others, and experience helps. Still, even lawyers who have been in practice for years might need to review red flags to ensure your client selection filter is working well. We’ve rounded up recent guidance to help. First, we want to note what might be an obvious distinction between problem clients and clients whose work is simply challenging, and acknowledge (and support) those who work with clients who face some of the deepest systemic issues as well as trauma. Lawyers can find more here on vicarious trauma / secondary trauma.
Identifying Problem Clients
DEALING WITH PROBLEM CLIENTS
Breaking Up (with a Client) Is Hard to Do (ABA GP Solo, June 2021) – Tips suggested: (1) Plan for the breakup from the start, (2) Document your relationship – with in your fee agreement, specify the work scope, financial terms, make payment and client cooperation conditions of continuing representation, (3) Document any problems, (4) Give the client the opportunity to cure the deficient performance, (5) Always act professionally before, during, and after the breakup.
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Lawyers, law students, and judges in Massachusetts can discuss concerns with a law practice advisor, licensed therapist, or both. Find more on scheduling here.