When the Going Gets Weird, Do You Withdraw?
Regardless of your area of practice, cases and clients can get rather weird sometimes. And not the good kind of weird. It's generally a byproduct of working with individuals, as people can and will act without thinking.
But not all strange situations merit a withdrawal or a client firing. However, sometimes, even if the weirdness isn't weirding you out, you might want to consider what continuing to pursue the case could do to your reputation, or even your legacy as a lawyer.
See a Flag, Pack Your Bag
For some lawyers, despite red flags, warning signals, and non-payment, withdrawing from representation is just not something they'll do unless they're ordered by the court or fired by a client.
However, for the vast majority of lawyers, at the first sign of non-payment, talks of withdrawing begin. But what about when the problem isn't non-payment? How uncooperative, rude, or offensive does a client need to be before you're willing to show them (or yourself) the door? That might be dependent on how badly you need the case, and whether the client has crossed a line. But what happens when it's just strange behavior?
While the most frequently cited reason for lawyers dumping clients is non-payment, often enough, it's the client's personality, and every now and again, cases just get weirdly complex and result in a 'double secret' conflict of interest.
There is no shortage of stories of lawyers running away from strange situations created by strange or creepy or just unreasonable clients. After all, most lawyers want to take on cases for, let's just say, interesting individuals, if not just to help make their own mundane lives a bit more exciting. But sometimes getting away from the mundane can lead to nightmarish situations, like a client's family member stalking your office. And while it may not be your client's fault that someone they know is harassing you, you certainly don't need to be the one to deal with that drama.
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