Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sometimes clients can be a pain in the arse

As the old saying goes, this job would be perfect if you didn't have the clients. Unfortunately, clients pay the bills, so we have to suffer them. But there are certain things that we do not have to put up with...

Take for example the clients who turn up without an appointment and expect to see you. Oh yes, we'll drop everything we're doing and see you immediately - doesn't matter if what we were doing was something urgent for another client. You wouldn't do this with a doctor, so don't do it with us. Similarly, the clients who make an appointment and then fail to turn up. No warning, no apology, nada. How difficult is it to pick up the phone and say "I'm not coming"?

Then you get the clients who expect you to do the impossible: "I've instructed you to achieve the outcome I want, I'm paying good money, so I expect to get it". No, sorry, it doesn't work like that. True, a good lawyer is more likely to achieve the outcome you want, but no one can achieve the impossible. Of course, some still refuse to accept this when you tell them. Take, for example, the client I had years ago who wanted custody of his children. When I explained to him that there was no chance that the court would grant him custody, he asked if I could give a backhander to the judge. Err, no, it doesn't work like that.

And then there are the officious clients, who treat you more like the enemy than their friend. They set such strict limits on what you can and can't do for them, so that you're afraid to do anything at all, and you spend all of your time protecting yourself from them, rather than protecting their interests. I even remember one client, a police officer, who was so mistrustful of my firm that he paid all our bills in cash and kept a record of all the banknote numbers. Why? Other clients are mistrustful of you because you are 'part of the system', and in league with the other party's lawyer. No - just because we represent you doesn't mean that we can't still be civil with our colleagues.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if you instruct a lawyer to represent you, trust them, treat them well and you're more likely to get the best out of them.


  1. if a court can try a child aged 10 in an adult court of law, why arnt children aged 10 also included in jury service ?.

  2. of babys born in custody, could a grandma (for example) take the baby out of the prison for the day and return with the baby to give the baby back to the mother serving a sentence ?

    just wondering following a conversation with a freind

  3. I'm no expert on prison procedures but, subject to that, I don't see why this can't happen.


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