The best attorney in the world can end up with a Legal Malpractice claim by taking the wrong client. As an attorney you may represent people that have done horrible things. You may not approve of what they did, but that does not mean they are a bad client. Your job is not to be a moral compass. But there are some clients that have belief systems and preconceived attitudes that can make your life miserable. We have had insured attorneys win the case only to have a Bar Complaint filed against them. Here are some Warning Signs:
1. The Client that is Mad at the World
The prospective client is angry at the world and wants to attack someone for the ‘wrong’ that was done to them. A Client with anger management issues could start with you being their ‘knight in shining armor’ only to end up as their next target.
2. The Client seeks Revenge
‘Don’t get mad, get even’ is not a good way to start an action. If the prospective client’s main goal is to get even, they are unlikely to stop until they get ‘even’ with all parties involved. Getting ‘even’ is in the eye of the beholder. With that as their main goal they may make the attorney’s life as miserable as the parties they are pursuing once the attorney decides to inject ‘reason’ into the action.
3. You are not the 1st Attorney on the Dance Card
Talk about a warning sign. If this is not a storm warning nothing is. Given that the first two attorneys did not handle their case ‘properly’, what makes you think you will fare any better.
4. Potential Client has Great Expectations
Unrealistic expectations at the beginning of the case results in unhappy client at the end. If you cannot set reasonable expectations, no matter how well you handle the case the client will never by satisfied. You lose.
Life is short, enjoy your legal life avoid bad clients.
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Lee Norcross, MBA, CPCU
Managing Director, CEO
(616) 940-1101 Ext. 7080