DEALING WITH CRAZY CLIENTS
December 7, 2010 § 6 Comments
The issues that bring people to Chancery Court are some of the very issues that stretch ordinary people to the breaking point. And it’s the lawyer who most often becomes the shock absorber, taking calls from worried clients in the wee hours, receiving hundreds of repetitive or accustory e-mails, being accused of all manner of things, having your judgment questioned at every turn, and even being threatened. Like we have said, some clients can make you ashamed to be a human being.
Some clients can be downright dangerous.
Mark Bennett is a Texas criminal defense lawyer who has a blog named Defending People: The Tao of Criminal Defense Trial Lawyering. He came up with a practical guide to dealing with crazy clients that he titled 10 Practical Rules for Dealing with the Borderline Personality. Here are his guidelines:
- If you don’t have to deal with a crazy person, don’t.
- You can’t outsmart crazy. You also can’t fix crazy. (You could outcrazy it, but that makes you crazy too.)
- When you get in a contest of wills with a crazy person, you’ve already lost.
- The crazy person doesn’t have as much to lose as you.
- Your desired outcome is to get away from the crazy person.
- You have no idea what the crazy person’s desired outcome is.
- The crazy person sees anything you have done as justification for what she’s about to do.
- Anything nice you do for the crazy person, she will use as ammunition later.
- The crazy person sees any outcome as vindication.
- When you start caring what the crazy person thinks, you’re joining her in her craziness.