Every lawyer who owns a law office would have come across different categories of clients. From those who are reasonable and really respect your views as the professional to the ones who come ready to dispute every of your proposition, these are all clients that lawyers have to deal with. The following annoying traits, are not peculiar to just one category of client.
- Calling at the Last Minute
Most clients only seek legal assistance at the last minute. A court paper is served on you and you actually do not have an idea of what exactly to do with the court papers. You tuck the paper inside your drawer and wait until less than 24 hours to the court hearing to consult with a lawyer. Some times even when the papers are sent to lawyers, some clients ignore the lawyer’s requests for clarifications or supporting documents until last minute. Then same client gets upset with the lawyer for not being fully involved.
2. Not Taking Lawyer’s Advice
You paid the lawyer to tell you what to do. If you knew better, you should have gone ahead to defend yourself in court. The lawyer is trained to understand certain business and transaction intricacies you may not immediately see. The lawyer knows why a clause in an agreement portends danger. Your lawyer is in a better position to guide you on issues. If you won’t take his advice, why engage him in the first place?
3. Expecting Good Service for Nothing
Most clients believe the lawyer’s job is as simple as putting pen to paper. That is why you hear a client ask, “why are you charging so much just to prepare a property deed?” Many come with stories of how they do not have money to pay for services but go ahead to expend money on other ancillaries to the case. I have witnessed a client who vowed not to have money but paid so much to law enforcement. Truth is, some client simply believe lawyers do not deserve as much as they demand for. Just because you don’t want to pay doesn’t mean your case is Pro Bono.
4. Petty Cases
You want to sue your neighbor because some leaves blew on your side of the fence, or your child’s school did not clear you on time for a scheduled appointment or the taxi driver did not pick you up at the scheduled time. You would be wasting your time and that of everyone else that would get involved for issues that can easily be remedied. While you have every right to be aggrieved by the above scenarios, it would be a typical case of killing an ant with a sledge hammer. How about accepting a sincere apology or some form of compensation? When a lawyer says to you to take the other route, it is because he knows more than you do that the Court does not want to hear it unless it matters.
5. Declaring War
Okay, so you have a serious case. It does not mean that the right move is to put on your helmet, arm yourself and put on war paint. Listen to your lawyer. Sometimes resolving your differences or settling your case is a better long-term outcome. There are times when you win the war and loose the essence. The lawyer tells you to sheath your sword, it is not because he is scared or weak. Sometimes it is to save you a greater loss.
6. Weekend Calls About Non-Emergencies
Emergencies happen. Lawyers are paid to deal with them. However, when it is not an emergency, do not call your lawyer just because you have one. Some clients often times call their lawyers at the middle of an informal discussion just to show the other party that his lawyer is within reach. While letting others know how easy it is to have a talk with your lawyer, always remember that the lawyer has other clients and his own life to attend to. So, before you make that weekend or odd hour calls, ask yourself, “can it wait?”
7. Not Responding to Your Lawyers
Your Lawyer gets a bad rap for not returning calls. Well, clients don’t return calls either. A lawyer cannot effectively represent you if he cannot speak to you when needed. It gets even more frustrating when the information needed to make progress is with the non responsive client. The same client would never admit to being at fault when their attitude complicates issues. Please do not avoid your lawyer’s calls.
8. Not Paying
There are those moments when clients become fraudulently smart. Refusing to pay fees or delaying fees to see if they can get off the hook and block the lawyer. There are times when clients just would not want to pay for services already rendered. The lawyer is made to continue to make demand for fees earned. Some times lawyers take clients to court to recover fees legitimately earned. This is wrong. You hired a lawyer. In most instances you caused the mess you are in or at least contributed to it. You agreed to the fees. Pay your bills. Not all lawyers are stinking rich.
Springing up surprises at wrong moments have got to be the greatest evil to a lawyer by a client. Your lawyer is human, he is not a magician. There are limits to what your lawyer can fix. Why on Earth would you lie to your lawyer? Realize that lawyers are immune to judging you based on whatever it is that you did due to the fact that everyone else did it too. They just did not get caught. Tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…to your lawyer
Disclaimer: This applies to none of our past, present and/or future clients. Any resemblance to you is purely coincidental.