Joydeep Hor, PCS Founder & Managing Principal, recently presented at a seminar for Legalwise on "dealing with difficult or unreasonable clients". During this seminar, Joydeep shared insights into the relationship between a lawyer and client, and delved into effective strategies lawyers can use to manage difficult or unreasonable clients.
The key message was that there should be a shift in mindset from "dealing with difficult or unreasonable clients" to "dealing with difficulties with clients". While it may be easy for lawyers to label clients as "difficult", the reality is that a lawyer should understand their client and have the client understand them. Some of the other themes discussed during the seminar were centered around systems, personnel, personality and communication.
- Have the discipline to craft and refine systems to prevent misunderstandings with clients.
- Be aware of deep-rooted psychological factors which may prevent you from setting out expectations early and truthfully.
Personnel & personality
- Role clarity is important for an organisation. Everyone must have accountability and understand their specific tasks.
- Personality matching certain lawyers to clients is an effective strategy to improve client relations.
- Know what you do, keep your promises and avoid surprises.
- Have the courage to ask a client "what does good look like?"
- Understand the client's expectations (which can include preferred communication channels, timelines, budget and quality of work) and communicate your expectations (which can include time to be spent on work and payment terms). This can prevent misunderstandings further down the track.