Sometimes it is a wise legal marketing decision to fire a client. There could be any number of reasons you should, including:
- Client consistently challenges your invoices
- Always is slow in paying
- Challenges your legal analysis and recommended strategies
- Is overly demanding of your time
- You no longer want to handle that client’s type of issues
- You just don’t like working with the client
- Work is not profitable (as in “losing money”)
As I have mentioned in a number of earlier posts (here, here, here, here and here), the best law firm marketing strategy involves seeking out the kind of legal work you (and the firm) want to do, for the clients you prefer to work for. You might say that I believe strongly in that approach.
So, you’ve decided to turn a client loose; but, you want to give careful thought as to how you do that. You don’t want turn the client into an enemy. That would be the reverse of a good referral system. You not only want to handle the matter professionally, but in both a respectful and tactful manner.
I’ve touched on the idea of firing a client before, but haven’t suggested how to do so. John Jantsch over at Duct Tape Marketing has a post on how to fire a client. He suggests you inform them that you are going to have to raise your rates, and you should to the point that the client decides “to move on, or make them less of a problem client.” (Interesting idea: how much money will change your opinion of a client?)
Here are a couple of my suggestions on how to fire a client:
- Raising rates is one of them (particularly when you realize that some large firm attorneys are billing in the $700-$900 per hour range these days), and
- Tell client that your taking your practice in a different direction, and you are easing out of their type of work (offer to recommend a solo or small firm that you know would welcome the work and serve their needs).
You could also tell them that you are no longer doing pro bono work for clients who should be paying you, however, that wouldn’t be an advisable approach. But you know that. Tempting though, isn’t it?