May God give me the strength to change the things I can, the wisdom to realize the things I cannot and sufficient quantities of land to bury the assholes clients that don’t listen to me.
You might think that all my clients are morons that couldn’t pour piss out of their boot with instructions written on the heel and that I despise their very being.
And you would be wrong. I actually like two of my clients (and, truth be told, I help them when they can’t follow the pouring instructions). But this is not a post about clients I like.
It seems that more and more clients are stubborn and believe more than their hired help: their lawyer. Just ask my lawyer. Dealing with clientele like this is clearly part of the fun of being a lawyer. Despite rumors to the contrary floating in popular culture, all litigation must come to an end. Thus having the know-more client ceases being fun when you have only two options staring you in the face: (1) a settlement or (2) a surefire loss at trial that will happen in the next week.
Most clients don’t get to experience my intolerance for their stupidity. It just doesn’t get to work like that as am an associate and we only get paid if they stick it out until the end (typically). There does come a point in time though where the young associate’s logic and reason can only do so much good.
That’s when the Partner gets called in.
Because the Partner can talk to the client any way he likes. It’s his client and he knows how much to push:
If you do not settle this F***ing case right the F*** now you we will fire you. Then come after you for fees, costs and whatever else we want to get paid for. And that will be right after you lose your f***ing trial next week. Stop with the bulls*** and let me settle this f***ing case!!!”
Apparently, profanity mixed with the fact that there will be a loss at trial seems to get the client thinking. And agreeing to the sage advice that they have been provided for the better part of a year.
But it is not that easy.
A weekend intervenes and the client goes silent. You call, fax and email. Nothing. Then you get the call a week later:
“I’m not sure I’m going to do this. I’m not happy with the numbers.”
I know I was tempted to launched into my version of the partner’s previous tirade but I took a breath, asked the client to hold on for a second and walked into my partner’s office. And I let him perform his profane encore. Much like the Godfather 2, this one was better, fierier and actually achieved the desired result.
No matter how good you may be, you have to let the guy with the name on the door remind you of why he is the boss and why you are the one holding the client’s piss-filled boot.