Does your lawyer avoid you like the plague, saying he’s in “Court,” or she’s in depositions? Maybe they are, or maybe you are an unreasonable client!
Signs of an Unreasonable client:
You want it yesterday. (Most things are not emergencies and even the basics take time to get right. Allow adequate time.)
You want it your way. (This is not Burger King. Usually, doing it your way leads to the mess that you are now in.)
You do not heed advice. (Similar to wanting it your way, you ignore instructions such as “DO NOT COMMUNICATE WITH HIM IN ANY MANNER WHATSOEVER!” and then you call, text, email and send smoke signals and a fight ensues.)
You blame the messenger. (A lot of times attorneys have to deliver crummy news due to bad circumstances. It’s is not because we want you to suffer, but it is because that is the way it is.)
You want something for nothing. (You may well get what you pay for.)
You paid last year and think they owe you. (That was a year ago. See You want something for nothing.)
You call the office, leave a message, call the cell phone, leave a message, send 2 texts, send 1 email, and call the paralegal all within 3 minutes and it is NOT an emergency. (This is wholly unnecessary.)
Matthew Thompson is a Mississippi Divorce attorney and knows a thing or two about unreasonable clients. If you identify with 2 or more of the above you may well be an Unreasonable Client, see your lawyer at their next available appointment for treatment.
I don’t really hate being a lawyer. Most days I enjoy it. It can be rewarding emotionally, financially, even spiritually, but…
being a lawyer has its downsides.
For one, we have to deal with OTHER LAWYERS. Other lawyers do things differently than you do them. They are slow, they don’t do what they say they will, they tell you things that are just wrong and they give their clients crummy advice.
All of our CLIENTS HAVE PROBLEMS. That is why they are seeing you. Lawyers purposely make other people’s problems their own!
All Lawyers are NOT RICH. What?!! They never told you that before law school. Lawyers struggle to find their niche’, find their market and some just don’t like being lawyers.
JUDGES. Judges judge you. They judge me. That’s their job, but some let it go to their head. A Judge’s attitude alone can make or break a Court experience, even with the same outcome.
CHURCH COMMITTEES. Being a lawyer gets you the hot seat for every church, social, civic and community committee in known existence. You are automatically the chairperson and the questions never stop.
DOCTORS. Doctors don’t like lawyers. Sure, I have some doctor friends, but I have to tell them that I DO NOT sue doctors. (That’s not entirely true, as I do sue doctors that cheat on their spouses…)
We have to CHARGE $. Lawyers cannot afford to take your case for free. (see #3, above). I tell potential clients that I cannot afford to do it for free and that if they find one that will you better watch out for getting what you “paid” for. Most people deserve to have a lawyer. Most lawyers deserve to be paid.
FRIENDS that just have 1) question. It will only take a minute…
NOT KNOWING THE ANSWER. Of course lawyers don’t know every answer to every possible question. I tell people when I don’t know something. Yes, I am still a lawyer.
MANY CLIENTS. To be a successful lawyer you must have clients. Because of this you must have multiple clients. The downside is sometimes a client, a person you genuinely care for and want to help, has to wait on you. This is tough. It is a balancing act. You, as a lawyer, cannot be in 2 places at once. Most clients understand. Some do not.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and enjoys being a lawyer most days.
There are a number of free, on-line Q&A opportunities for unrepresented persons to pose general questions of law and have lawyers answers those questions. This is really in the form of a public service and the responses do not create an attorney-client relationship, nor are they considered legal advice. But, they do prove helpful. (Examples include; AVVO, Law Q A, LawGuru, LawZam, JustAnAnswer)
However, I have noticed several trends by Askers of the questions that result in no responses. Below are just a few of “what not to say.”
DO NOT start the Question with “I am __ (age 13-17 ).
You won’t get a response if you are a young’un, and if you are older than that it probably is not a necessary fact for the Q&A.
DO NOT start the Question “I ain’t got no money, but….”
We already assume that. You’re posting on a free Q&A.
DO NOT start the Question with “My attorney said ____, but…
We know what you want (I want you to say what I wanted to hear, instead of what he said)…” We won’t.
DO NOT start the Question with “Don’t you attorneys have to do free cases or pro bono cases…”
We do, but it does not have to be your case.
DO NOT use ALL CAPS, ALL THE TIME. IT IS PERCEIVED AS YELLING, IS POOR SOCIAL INTERNET MANNERS AND MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT AND PAINFUL TO READ YOUR QUESTIONS.
DO NOT use terrible grammar. It’s not an English Composition exam, but it needs to be coherent. Sentences should have a beginning AND an end. There should be multiple sentences, but…
DO NOT write a novel.
DO NOT leave out necessary facts.
If you’re question is about how much child support you will receive have an idea on the paying parent’s income. If you don’t have an idea, how would the lawyer?
DO NOT ask the same question multiple times.
Finally, a free Q&A is not an excuse to not hire an attorney when you need one. After all, the saying you get what you pay for comes from somewhere.
Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney in Mississippi and cautions those that use the free Q&A sites to be careful, you might get what you pay for.