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Are Bad Clients Keeping You Up at Night?

Posted in Marketing Tips

As the holiday season approaches, think about giving yourself a gift. Fire those clients you don’t like. You’ll sleep better. This is a topic I have discussed several times before (see posts below).

Christina Laun has a post yesterday on Bootstrapper blog that advises on what to look for and how to fire bad clients. Although her article is not written for lawyers specifically, her points are still applicable in the legal world. So, if you have clients that make you unhappy, consider showing them the door. Here are the characteristics to look for:

  • The Complainer (doesn’t matter if you produce quality work cheaper and quicker than anticipated, they won’t be happy);
  • The Something for Nothing (will expand on the representation and still expect you to come in on the original estimate);
  • The Time Waster (doesn’t value your time, but doesn’t want to pay for it);
  • The Aggressor (those with a short fuse, and can be abusive in the relationship, which can make it more difficult to get rid of them);
  • The Know-it-All (questions your every move, and acts like they know as much as you when it comes to your area of practice)
  • The Boundary Crosser (takes advantage of special access, and intrudes on your personal time when there is no urgent reason to do so).

So, how do you shed your practice of these fine folks. Laun suggests the following steps:

  • Do it in writing (of course);
  • Make sure you get paid first (not sure this is worth it in all cases);
  • Fulfill any contractual obligations (or reach a mutual understanding as to terminating your engagement early);
  • Do it in as friendly, non hostile manner as possible (again, of course);
  • Recommend someone else (at least a couple of others) to replace you; and
  • If all else fails, raise your rates significantly (that should do it).

If you are interested in reading my 4 other posts on firing clients ….

Praise the Lord and Pass the … (Client to Someone Else)

Stop Procrastinating – Fire Those Bad Clients

Do You Need to Fire A Client?

When to Fire a Client

  • http://www.whataboutclients.com/archives/2007/11/kane_bad_client.html What About Clients?

    Kane: Bad Clients

    Try this mantra: “Life’s short, practicing law done correctly is hard, and no client is better than a bad one”. We love it when Tom Kane writes about bad clients. It’s gets our juices going. For WAC?, bad clients tend…

  • http://temp.starklawlibrary.org/blog/archive/2007_11.html#008105 Stark County Law Library Blog

    “Are Bad Clients Keeping You Up at Night?”

    Posted by Tom Kane: ?s the holiday season approaches, think about giving yourself a gift. Fire those clients you don?

  • http://goldenmarketing.typepad.com/acctroundup/2007/11/are-bad-clients.html Accountants Round Up

    “Are Bad Clients Keeping You Up at Night?”

    By Tom Kane: As the holiday season approaches, think about giving yourself a gift. Fire those clients you donít like. Youíll sleep better. This is a topic I have discussed several times before (see posts below). Christina Laun has a

  • http://www.FiduciaryGuidanceCounsel.com Peter Gulia

    How does one responsibly suggest other lawyers for a soon-to-be former client? If I didn’t want to work for that organization, why inflict it on anyone else?
    Tom’s Response:
    Peter, I believe you are thinking too narrowly. There could be a bunch of reasons why you may no longer want to serve a particular client, that someone else may be very happy to serve. A couple that quickly come to mind include:
    *You’re changing the focus of your practice,
    *Your personalities just clash, but it doesn’t mean another lawyer wouldn’t be a perfect fit for client,
    *Another struggling solo may be happy for the business,
    *Etc, etc.

  • http://www.macdonaldconsultingservices.com/post/2008/09/When-is-it-time-to-dump-a-client.aspx MacDonald Consulting Services

    When is it time to

    See Denice MacDonald’s post “When is it time to dump a client?” Right on Denice!