Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Dealing with "High Maintenance" CLTs (or Potential CLTs)

How do you deal with people who utterly refuse to accept rea catwoman33303/14/19
A lot of people are just awful, unfortunately, even allowing dupednontraditional03/15/19
Don't engage after you reject a case. Tell them politely yo jd4hire03/15/19
If I'm not taking a case upfront, I don't reengage after tel thirdtierlaw03/15/19
up front I say "I'm sorry, it's not my field of expertise, I dingbat03/15/19
If I want to reject a PC, I say something like I would love uknownvalue03/15/19
This is the right advice. Litigation is always a crapshoot, onehell03/18/19
catwoman333 (Mar 14, 2019 - 11:16 pm)

How do you deal with people who utterly refuse to accept reality when trying to explain to them why you won't represent them or won't file an appeal of a lower decision because their case is weak??

I have just spent 2 days going around in argument circles, trying to "reason" with a thick-headed client, explain to her why she doesn't have a chance in hell of winning on appeal (because of weak case merits). Now, of course, she blames the lawyers because the JUDGE declined her weak claim. I know we have a duty of candor and I try to avoid these types from the get-go by declining them as clients upfront, but that usually generates the SAME stressful discussion and pressure to accept their case...Ugh.

Some people seem to think if they argue endlessly or whine loudly enough, they can wear you down and you will cave to pacify them (and avoid a frivolous, time-consuming grievance complaint). But, IMO, that just extends the inevitable: ANOTHER loss at the appeals level.

IMO, some people and potential fees are just not worth all the stress and wasted time they generate. Short of leaving law altogether, how do you avoid allowing these people to wreck your nerves and health?

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dupednontraditional (Mar 15, 2019 - 6:52 am)

A lot of people are just awful, unfortunately, even allowing for the fact they may be going through some stress related to the matter at hand. Cynically accepting that helps a little.

Whining as a strategy to get your way is something that should have been left behind in 3rd grade, but people often don’t want to take serious action, they just want others to do things for them.

Given these aspects of human nature, tell them in a polite and friendly way to get a second opinion if they don’t believe you? Once you have honestly and earnestly explained it “once,” you’ve done your part, as it were. You’ll never convince someone if they have already decided to not be convinced, and you end up just wasting your time and energy. Some folks don’t respond to reason, and if they really are that bad maybe they will move the case to someone else.

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jd4hire (Mar 15, 2019 - 9:22 am)

Don't engage after you reject a case. Tell them politely you can't assist and then show them the door or get off the phone.

As to your current client, withdraw and end the conversation. Might be tricky given the current posture and how you accepted the case, but if there is an ample appeal period, let the client go. If not, you might be stuck with the appeal.

At some point you have to control the conversation and draw the line. I hope you're billing by the hour to justify spending two days explaining why the case is a loser. If it's contingent, you should have shut that down. Might be tricky given the posture, but if the case is so weak and the client sucks, it begs the question why you took the case in the first place.

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thirdtierlaw (Mar 15, 2019 - 10:59 am)

If I'm not taking a case upfront, I don't reengage after telling them "sorry I can't help you, but I recommend you get a second opinion, another attorney may see this in a different way."

As for appeals, our initial retainer agreement is clear that representation is limited solely to the trial court.

Another strategy I've employed when I have a client giving us a lot money for a matter, but they are asking me to to file a guaranteed loser of motion on a small part of the case is I first explain why it is a loser. When they continue to push, I just say, "look, I'll write and file it for you, but first I am going to write you letter explaining why this is a waste of time, your money, and risks us hurting your case by diminishing your credibility with the judge. I believe from our conversation that you understand these things, but I just need to protect myself." That typically gets them to change their position fairly quickly.

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dingbat (Mar 15, 2019 - 12:05 pm)

up front I say "I'm sorry, it's not my field of expertise, I strongly recommend you talk to someone who specializes in this" and will recommend an attorney I don't like

After the fact hasn't happened yet, fortunately.

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uknownvalue (Mar 15, 2019 - 2:44 pm)

If I want to reject a PC, I say something like I would love to take your money, but I won't because I don't have the time that is necessary to devote to your case .... I try to avoid discussing the merits of their case.

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onehell (Mar 18, 2019 - 1:53 pm)

This is the right advice. Litigation is always a crapshoot, so you never know for 100% sure. Total loser cases sometimes prevail against all odds, and apparent sure things fall apart for reasons you never could've predicted. That's why you tell them to find someone else and to do so quickly lest some deadline be blown, but never tell them you're declining because you think they have no chance. Imagine if some other similar case comes down the line later demonstrating they might have won, but they didn't bother because you told them it would be a waste of time and now it's too late because some SOL or appeal deadline has ran or whatever. Then they might come at you alleging malpractice. The only stated reason to ever decline anything is because you're a private business with no obligation to take anything that isn't already covered by an existing retainer. There's no requirement to tell them any other reasons why, and nothing to be gained by doing so.

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