As a solo law practitioner starting your firm is a challenge, especially when retaining clients. It is tempting to accept any client that comes your way. You do have to pay the bills. However it is advisable to be selective in your clients to avoid headaches down the road. Any problems you perceive with a prospective client in the beginning will only be magnified once you have put a lot of time and effort into the representation. And untangling yourself from a troublesome client is much more difficult than spending your energy into attracting new ones.
Here are some red flags to avoid problematic clients:
- Wants to mine you for information for something they want to handle themselves
- Hedges about paying a retainer or challenges fees
- Has an untenable legal position
- Isn’t forthcoming or truthful
- Wants you to handle something outside of your area or expertise
- Wants to do something illegal
- Has unrealistic expectations on what you can do for them
- Is offensive or distasteful
- Has hostility towards lawyers
Trust your instincts when conducting intake interviews and be discerning on who you want to represent. You can’t be representing excellent clients if you are bogged down with troublesome ones.
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