We fired not one, but two, clients yesterday.
One client refused to follow our processes and did not like our fee structure. He kept complaining and asking for more than what we had contracted to provide.
The second client yelled at me and our team members about things that were completely within her control to fix and completely outside of our ability to assist.
We cannot tolerate clients (or other attorneys) yell at us or our team members.
For the good of all of our clients, we cannot let clients dictate how we handle cases.
We have systems in place to make the process goes more smoothly. If people don’t like or don’t appreciate our system, it is simply much better to part ways, wish the clients the best of luck and send them on their merry way.
Standing up to an unreasonable client is important on many levels.
It sets a boundary that is very important. Life is too short to be handling cases with ungrateful or unreasonable clients.
It lets staff know that you have their back. When we fire a client for abusing a team member, we always make sure to have that team member in the room to witness us refunding the client’s money.
This way, we make sure that our team member knows that they are vastly more important to us than any particular client.
On a few occasions, the simple act of telling a client that we intended to part ways snapped them into shape and we were able to continue working together.
Every once in awhile, we get a client who may be overly pushy or even a bit of a bully.
Showing them that we can survive without them or their legal fee is super important to re-establish the terms of the relationship.
I remember going to the Solo and Small Firm Conference one year and the most popular session was how to ethically fire a client. Clearly, our firm is not the only one to deal with these types of issues.
No client, no case and no amount of money will ever make it worthwhile to accept abuse from a client. Much better to part ways and focus on the next case.
If you handle your business properly, there will be plenty of more pleasant clients with which to deal.