How to Deal with the Angry Client

by Suzie on December 28, 2011 · 2 comments

in Corporate counsel issues,martindale.com

No matter how hard we try to remain in our client’s good graces, inevitably some will be unhappy with our legal services. Even if we did nothing wrong, we still need to deal with these situations properly.

Taking the steps listed below will increase the chances that your attorney-client relationship will become even stronger and helps to avoid any unfavorable actions by your client.

  1. Be Patient: Don’t make things worse by rushing your client’s story or by becoming openly frustrated.
  2. Be Expedient: Address issues immediately so that they don’t fester in your client’s mind.
  3. Listen: Make it a point to absorb everything that’s being said so that you can adequately assess the situation and find out what’s at the heart of your client’s anger.
  4. Acknowledge: Acknowledge the problem; don’t try to excuse it away or become defensive, which will further anger your client.
  5. Empathize: indicate that you understand why your client is angry.
  6. Probe: Make sure that you completely understand why your client is angry by asking probing questions.
  7. Apologize: Whether you were in the wrong or not, apologize for the way your client feels. If you did make mistakes, apologize for them.
  8. Discuss Solutions: Involve your client in proposing possible solutions.
  9. Agree on a Solution: Draft a “Client Solution Agreement” that you both sign.
  10. Follow-Through: Implement the solution in a timely manner and to completion according to the “Client Solution Agreement.” Go above and beyond the Agreement to regain their trust and satisfaction.

Read these articles for more information about dealing with angry clients.

If you have additional suggestions, please post yours here.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzie Suzie wrote onAugust 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Thank you Steven!

Reply

STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION) wrote onAugust 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm

You left out the cardinal rule #11: Never, ever bring suit against a client. When disagreements occur, the client is always right. This is a universal truth that must be followed.

Reply

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