I can’t help but identify my first negative client trait in relation to the vacation I just completed. Most of my clients were extremely encouraging and patient while I took my family away from the trappings of technology and the law. Many of those clients had arguably urgent matters which they held onto awaiting my return. But one client in particular came up with numerous “you must call me now” emergencies. None of the matters were actually emergencies at all. After responding that I would contact him promptly upon my return from vacation, he threatened to sue me if I did not immediately return his call.
Clients who don’t understand what is and is not an emergency can be a huge problem. Every lawyer, especially litigators go through a process each day prioritizing and reprioritizing items. Separating the critical matters from the urgent matters to the important matters to the matters which are not time sensitive is a critical item in a successful lawyer’s toolbox. But, when clients feel the need to make those decisions for the lawyer, the lawyer has two choices. He can pander to the client and provide them the unnecessary attention they seem to require. This approach of course imposes problems for that lawyers remaining clients. The other approach is to simply fire those clients who cannot or will not ever take a backseat to anyone regardless of priority.
For the purpose of this “perfect client” list, I shall refer to this type of client as the squeaky-wheel client.