Do You Have to Act for a Difficult Client?

Do you have to act for a difficult client? The short answer is "no." The answer is simple, but sometimes difficult to apply in practice because:

  • you might not immediately identify the client as being difficult;
  • you might worry that turning away any client is bad for business;
  • you might feel passionate about the client's cause and fail to consider the consequences of acting for the client; or
  • you might think you can handle a difficult client.

The issue often arises in criminal defense and family law cases. While it is sometimes difficult for these clients to find legal representation, remember that if the case has merit, someone will represent them, and it need not be you. As each client has different personality traits, so do lawyers. There may be others who are more tolerant, more experienced, or have different personality traits that make them better suited to represent the client. Keep this in mind when considering whether to act for a difficult client.