Set Client Expectations from the Beginning

I recently received a communication from a potential client asking me if I would get “nasty” with the lawyer representing the opposition. Here is my reply, which has been lightly edited to protect the client’s confidentiality:

 

Dear Sam:

I have a good professional relationship with Attorney Smith, although I admit, as I told you on the phone, that I have occasionally wondered about the wisdom of some judgments that I have seen him make.

I have no concern about my ability to represent you based my existing relationship with him. But it is your confidence that matters, not mine.

I try to treat my professional opponents with respect and build good working relationships — regardless of how I feel about them, their clients, or their cases.

In the long run, it works better than nastiness. Sadly, sometimes this does not work out, but cases with gratuitous nastiness are unnecessarily expensive, difficult, and risky.

That has nothing to do with the substance of how I do cases. I do what needs to be done to advance and protect my clients’ interests.

Perhaps I am not the lawyer for you. That’s entirely your call.

If you would feel more comfortable with someone else, that is, of course, what you should do.

Best wishes either way.

 

Rich

 
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