Breaking Up Earlier Rather Than Later

I ended up representing a crazy because I had an attorney/client relationship with him when he discovered that the foreclosure sale was 48 hours off.  I needed to have taken my own advice about deselecting clients who won’t take your advice.

My concern here, both personally and professionally, was that I thought risky to say, two days from the foreclosure sale, that I would not represent this person in a bankruptcy.  No matter that I thought keeping this house was insanity, and doing so by tapping retirement savings was worse.  And that in the end, the effort would be futile.

The man  proceeded to  bring  in a basket of unopened mail and sat in my conference room for half a day, just to get my paralegal the information necessary to do an emergency.  Then, like a burr in a sweater, he was on my office doorstep the next morning, unannounced, to use our computers to do credit counseling!  Goodness knows what it will take to complete the filing.

My take-away from this situation is that I should have said, far earlier in our encounters, that I would not represent the client and cut off the conversation.  Persisting in trying to tender advice that was repeatedly rejected should have been the trigger for retreat.

Not to worry.  I’ll figure this out with time.  There’s a reason it’s called the “practice” of law.

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  • Good story, Cat, and one many of us can empathize with.

    I don’t have a rock-solid solution, but what helps is to print “80 – 20” on some regular laser paper and frame it. It hangs in my line of sight– just over the client’s shoulder as they’re sitting across the desk from me.

    • Cathy Moran, Esq.

      Earlier this week, I did manage to cut short a consultation with a prospect who wanted to use a Chapter 13 to trump an order in family court providing for the sale of the family home. I realized I didn’t like the client; I didn’t believe what he wanted was either proper or likely to be available, and I didn’t want to stand before a judge advocating his position.

      Told him I wouldn’t take the case and wished him well. And enjoyed an extra half hour trying to find the veneer on my desk.