How to say no to clients

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<ul><li><p>How to Say No to Clients Posted on 11/09/2015 </p><p>By Oregon Law Practice Management </p><p>Do any of these sound familiar? </p><p> I find it difficult to turn away clients I take cases outside my practice area I let myself get talked into things I dont want to do Sometimes I feel I am the only lawyer who can help my clients </p><p>Did you answer yes to one or more of these questions? You are in good company. </p><p>Lawyers often feel pressured to practice door law. The source of the pressure may be economic: I </p><p>dont really have a choice. I need the money. It can also be emotional: Family, friends, or former </p><p>clients are depending on me. </p><p>If you find yourself in this predicament frequently, here is some sage advice that first appeared in In </p><p>Sight. These tips apply no matter who is doing the asking: clients, friends, family, neighbors, </p><p>teachers, etc.: </p><p> Be respectful. Listen to the asker and dont interrupt. Respect the request, then respect your </p><p>right to decline the request. </p><p> Keep it simple. You have the right to say no. Elaborate justifications arent necessary [and </p><p>may lead to backsliding, since many of us say yes to avoid feeling guilty]. </p><p> Assign responsibility elsewhere: That sounds very nice; unfortunately, my </p><p>calendar is booked solid. Now its your calendars fault. Stand firm. Avoid engaging in </p><p>discussion or negotiation. </p><p> Refer to others who might fill the opening well. </p><p> Say yes when there is a good reason to do so, it will benefit you, or the cause is one you </p><p>believe in. [Life is too short to take on a case or client you find repugnant.] </p><p>I encourage you to read the full article here. </p><p>Postscript What would I add to the above? </p><p>Its time to keep it 100, get real, and dish some tough love: </p><p>1. You are not the only lawyer who can help your clients. If money is an issue, there are others </p><p>who participate in the OSB modest means program, offer sliding fee services, or take pro bono </p><p>referrals. If you continually give your time away to nonpaying clients, your practice will </p><p>decline and you may need to close your doors. If you close your practice, you arent available </p><p>to help anyone. </p><p></p></li><li><p>2. If the case cant be won, are you doing a service or a disservice by taking it? Once a lawyer </p><p>commits to a case, many clients assume the case CAN BE WON, no matter how you qualify </p><p>your representation. Not all clients have a legal remedy, for a variety of reasons. This can be a </p><p>bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is better than false hope. You can always suggest [and </p><p>should suggest] a second opinion. </p><p>3. Even when the client has the money and the case is decent, you are not always the right </p><p>match. Dont let someone push you out of your comfort zone. Law is complex. Staying on </p><p>top of your desired practice areas is hard enough. Straying into unfamiliar areas is stressful, </p><p>time consuming, expensive [because of the learning curve], and more likely to result in a claim </p><p>or bar complaint. </p><p>4. You are a lawyer, not a doctor. Keeping clients who wont follow your advice, </p><p>dont cooperate, and look to place blame anywhere but with themselves, is a pure misery. This </p><p>is not a situation you can cure, except by firing the client. </p><p>All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis </p><p></p></li></ul>