Toxic Client Strategies for Dealing with difficult people

Toxic Client
Strategies for Dealing with
Difficult People
With Garrett Sutton, Esq.
And Mark Goodman, Esq.
Our Working Environment
O Stress
O Long hours
O No vacation
O Nonpaying Clients
O 80% deal with them
Our Working Environment
Difficult clients with toxic
personalities =
Toxic Clients
Red Flags
What are the red flags for
Toxic Clients?
Problems with Previous
O Client had some kind of problem with a previous
provider and/or has been fired by another
O Client has had multiple providers already on this
O Client seems to be talking to half of the local bar
association about their matter as they
simultaneously want to retain us.
High Drama
O Client has a long complicated story with high
O They get highly emotional about the
O The only thing the client seems to care
about is price.
O Client bargains aggressively on price, rates
and payment terms.
O Client nitpicks the billing.
This person will call repeatedly to go over the
details on each invoice before ever paying.
Commodity Trader
O Client views your services as a commodity
not a relationship-based business.
Rich and Famous
O Client thinks that their case is my
opportunity to “make a name for myself”
and become rich and famous.
Judge is Biased
O Client alleges that the Judge is “biased.”
Once in a blue moon, a judge actually is biased.
The other 999/1000 times the client is just
O Client is incapable of seeing the case from
the other side’s point of view.
Conspiracy Theorist
O Client believes there is a conspiracy to
destroy him/her.
In my experience there is never any evidence of
this, but the client is 100% convinced.
O Client wants to run their own case and use
our firm as a mere mouthpiece.
O Client wants to write the pleadings but just
have us get it filed.
O Client will not listen to or agree with my
advice and analysis but wants to proceed
with us anyway.
Last Minute Crisis
O Client has a horrible last minute crisis
situation when they come into our office for
the first time. 99% of the time this could
have been dealt with earlier.
Dog Ate My Homework
O Client is highly dilatory with necessary
O Client does not return communication.
O Client does not take legal work, documents,
deadlines seriously.
Friends/Family Issues
O Friend or family member is a provider but
not retained on the case.
O Family member is paying, but not the client,
thus family member wants to run the case.
O Client is vague about the details of the case,
does not seem to be forthcoming and/or
does not remember details that any
reasonable person in that situation should
Fallen From Grace
O Client used to have/make lots of money and
now is struggling financially.
These people can’t handle tight budgets, tend
to flake on bills and often get whiny.
Only Client
O Client acts as if they are our only client.
O Client talks and talks but won’t listen to
what I have to say.
Get a Hobby
O Client seems to have no life outside of their
case. Client lives and breathes the case
Amateur Lawyer
O Client does their own research and is
continually presenting it to us.
Too Personal
O Relationship becomes too personal. Client
almost seems to want to date me.
O Client is super anal-retentive.
While it’s good to have a client that pays
attention to detail, it’s very difficult to work with
clients that are ultra-obsessed with every detail.
O Client is stubborn.
Stubbornness is one of the hardest qualities to
deal with in the legal profession. Ironically,
dumb is manageable.
Wannabe Big Shot
O Client talks as if they are very rich or
O Client discusses big deals or big money from
the past, but is shocked at the idea of
paying a few thousand dollars for legal
O Client talks about grandiose ideas usually
involving big money and/or fame, and there
seems to be no connection to the client’s
current reality.
Take it to the Top
O Client has written to high ranking
government officials, such as the Governor
or the President, about their private legal
To Succeed in Business,
Know When to Reject a
Toxic Client
Contact Us
O Mark Goodman, Esq. (775) 473-4268
O Corporate Direct, Inc. (800) 600-1760

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