An Offer They Can’t Refuse: Getting Clients to Pay, Part 2

Alright, so Monday I talked about all the reasons I hate it when a client doesn’t pay their bill. The main reason, as you might have gleaned, is because I provide a service, like every attorney out there, which requires me to use my knowledge, time, resources, and professional expertise to help people that can barely count to 11 even if they take off their pants first. This is not an easy task, and frequently leads me to question my life choices.

Today we’re gonna forge the fuck forward by talking about the four options frequently focused on when a client refuses to pay, and since it’ll be a long one, let’s just go right into this shit.

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The CYA Letter: A Staple of Stupid Clients

Clients, the final moronic entity that stands between you and happiness. Maybe a settlement offer has come in that’s more than fair and you communicate it to the client, who steadfastly refuses to accept it despite the fact they have no money left and are so far behind on their bills even the bankruptcy court is saying “Damn man…” Maybe it’s you telling the client that great idea they’re having is most definitely illegal and will end in an audit and possible prosecution. Maybe it’s the client who wants to enter into a contract that you advise against, multiple times, and ends up owing the guy down the street, who wasn’t a party to the contract in the first damn place, their life savings, car, house, wife, and dog. No matter the situation, every lawyer is dreadfully aware of the fact that when you tell a client Option A is probably the best choice, there’s even odds the client will invent Option Z out of thin air and doggedly pursue it, ignoring the fact that they’re paying you to help them.

Generally, given my longstanding dislike for clientele, this would be a win-win for me. I get paid, I do my job ethically, and an idiot who had just enough in the way of functioning fucking brain cells to realize they needed a lawyer but not enough to listen gets their comeuppance. Life in those situations is a little slice of heaven, right up until the client tries to sue you or bring a bar complaint saying your advice was wrong and their horrors are directly your fault.

“No, Boozy,” I hear you cry, “You mean clients don’t take responsibility f0r their own stupid ass decisions? Say it ain’t so!”

Okay smartass. I get it.  This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation, but let me as you something:

Did you paper the file with a CYA letter?  No? Well, have fun defending yourself.

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Problem Client Identification: 3 More Species of Problem Client

We’ve established several times on this blog that I’m not the biggest fan of clients. Like most professionals who have to, in some way, deal with the general public, lawyers are genuinely convinced that the practice of law would be a wonderful thing if, you know, it wasn’t for the hordes that beat down our doors. But, because only law professors and federal judges get to be esoteric about the practice of law, here’s the sad truth of the legal profession: we all have to deal with people that, under any other set of circumstances, we wouldn’t want to touch with someone else’s twenty foot pole.

Now, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like helping people out. But Jesus fucking Christ can clients become irritating. They get to a point where they’re like yapping little dogs at times, you know, the sort that you shove in a purse and zipped closed, not caring that they’re likely shitting all over your new iPhone just so long as they’re not barking at you for once. Add into this the fact that clients often think they know exactly how you should be, you know, practicing goddamn law, what with their mastery of Google and the degree they have in an entirely unrelated field, and you end up in the worst fucking nightmare that a lawyer can have.  The phone never stops ringing, the emails never stop coming in, and the small matter that you took on for a flat fee because it was relatively simple and should have been quick and easy is now a thing that makes you sit bolt upright in bed at night considering how many other career paths you could have fucking followed if only you’d dragged your head out of your ass long enough to heed the warnings of the broken fucking shells of senior attorneys.

But, hey, that’s the life we fucking live, right?  In the past I talked about how to identify problem clients and gave you two types: The Junior Lawyer and the Speed Demon, but I realize that the multitude of problem clients extend far fucking beyond just those two particular types of dickweeds, so today let’s take a look at 3 more clients that make lawyers run for the goddamn hills, desperately in search of the Fountain of Scotch that restores our faith in humanity.

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Clients, Judge Your Lawyers.

So for the past few weeks I’ve sort of taken this blog off the beaten path and started writing some shit for prospective purchasers of legal services. Some of that has been by necessity, since my recent reading audience has expanded further than a few attorneys sitting around a Slack channel and some law students from Twitter. So, naturally, because I’m a big ol’ media whore when it comes to this shit, that means that some of my topics have been less in the way of legal thought and more in the way of “Don’t be a fucking moron, kay?”

This has left, quite fucking understandably, some of the attorneys that read the blog feeling like they’ve been tossed on the trash heap for the newer readers, as the topics that are directly pertinent to their interests have decreased while goofy shit, like bondage and Furries, has increased. But what they’re missing is the fact that as I give advice on mundane shit to the muggles, I’m slyly trying to suggest ways a lawyer can switch up some things about their practice and themselves in order to get more of their fucking money.

Like today. Over the past couple weeks I’ve walked some mouth-breathing morons through the process of locating an attorney on Google, because apparently functional adults need to be told how to fucking Google shit, and how to not appear like a complete and utter chucklefuck. I understand the latter may be particularly difficult for members of the great unwashed hordes that call your office asking for free advice, but I’m at least trying to offer better advice than “Shower, and for God’s sake, lay off the fucking Axe body spray. It doesn’t attract women. It attracts shame.” But today is special, because today, at the request of several people, I’m going to toss out five tips on identifying the attorney a client doesn’t want to fucking hire.

And you assholes with bar licenses should perk right the fuck up, too, because I’m not only telling them how to select an attorney, I’m telling you how to stop looking like a complete and total shitstain.

So, that shit said, let’s take a look at the Five Warning Signs that clients should pay attention to.

Continue reading “One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Clients, Judge Your Lawyers.”

“Don’t Be A Dumba**” : 5 Tips for The Potential New Client

Last week I told all of the non-lawyer punks that are now reading the blog about how to contact a lawyer. Of course, being muggles and potential clients, and therefore incapable of wiping their own asses with an instruction manual, the immediate response to the post was “But…But Boozy, how do we decide what lawyer to hire once we’ve found one! I mean, plenty of lawyers are scumbags who just want our money!”

You hear that sound? That’s the sound of a million good lawyers out there sighing and throwing themselves backwards in their chairs all at once because you “heard from a guy about this one lawyer that was a real son of a bitch” and “didn’t care about the case.” Look, some lawyers suck, that’s just the nature of things. Some birds don’t fly, some dogs bite, and some lawyers have no business with a bar license, but that shit happens. Most of the time, though, the reason your fuckstick friend is so unhappy with their lawyer has absolutely nothing to do with the lawyer themselves, and a lot to do with what they think happened.

So how can lawyers fucking combat this plague of people that assume we’re all money-grubbing whores out for every penny in their pocket? Well, first, don’t hire me. Because I’m likely to be a money-grubbing whore out for every last penny in your pocket. Outside of that? Well, maybe I should take a fucking moment and tell people how they can act during a consult and assess a lawyer. I mean, I told lawyers how to assess a case and a client a while back, maybe it’s time for a companion piece on what to do once one of the mouthbreathing morons that make up the mass of humanity stumbles, through sheer happenstance and coincidence, into a law office instead of their friend’s living room. You know, that friend who “totally was a criminal justice major in college and can give you free legal advice.”

So, lawyers, turn back. This one’s for the potential clients. Or, you know, don’t turn back, because you motherfuckers know how I feel about clients and you may get a little bit of enjoyment from this shit.

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