Just as most doctors will tell you that doctors make the worst patients, I think most lawyers would say the same thing about our species.
It’s because we know how things are supposed to work. And it’s because of ego. We’re not comfortable letting someone else call the shots.
And so we routinely handle our own legal affairs, often to our detriment. Nowhere is this detriment more apparent than when we have a dispute with another lawyer.
A lawyer friend contacted me the other day and told me about one of his clients, another lawyer, who has become the proverbial client from hell.
She isn’t happy with anything and blames him for things outside of his control. She wants what she wants and steadfastly refuses to compromise, despite his many attempts to accommodate her. At first, he wanted to save the client. Now, he just wants to save himself.
How bad is it? She’s reported him for imagined ethical violations and is threatening to file a criminal complaint.
As I say, the client from hell.
He asked for my take on it. Naturally, I suggested he turn it over to another lawyer. Not just because of the ethical and criminal risks, but because the whole thing is making him miserable.
“You’re too close to the situation and she will continue to push your buttons,” I said.
If he’s lucky, she will get a lawyer, too. Then the two lawyers can negotiate without the animus or emotion that has gripped this situation. It will cost him, but can you put a price on your sanity?
I’ve met lawyers who swear they will never again have a lawyer for a client. What say you? Have you represented any lawyers who made you wish you hadn’t?