October 17, 2019 civil procedure

Bad Clients and What to Do about Them

Careful and vigilant evaluation of clients can prevent problems before and during representation

By Brian A. Zemil

We zealously represent and pursue clients. We dress up for beauty contests, toil over requests for proposals, and scour the internet—all part of a seemingly endless effort to retain clients. After all, clients can enable you to enhance your legal skills, reputation, and bottom line. But the competitive legal marketplace and our deep-seated desire to land and keep clients can cloud our judgment and ability to identify problem clients. Sometimes a client that looked promising turns out to be unreasonable or fails to pay your bills. You can try to withdraw from the representation, but that requires jumping through a number of ethical and procedural hoops, and even then, the court may not grant your request. Given those risks, careful and vigilant evaluation of clients can prevent problems before and during representation.

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