When an attorney first approaches you with the case, is he or she serious about using you or are you dealing with a potential toxic client?
You might get a call from someone who says, “I’m an associate who’s been asked to collect information about prices. What are yours?” She might say, “I’m calling around to find somebody to work on this case. I’m going down my list.”
This approach shows the attorney views legal nurse consultants as commodities and wants to buy the least costly LNC.
I’ve gotten many of those phone calls, and my advice is: Give them the information and don’t waste your time chasing them for follow-up. If they retain you, you are going to likely have problems.
Another type of toxic client is the negotiator. You can easily identify this person. If you say you have a 10-hour retainer, he or she will say, “You don’t need 10 hours to review this case.”
There are small cases, like an emergency department case or office records. They consist of a few pages. However, the majority of cases involve lots of medical records that need to be organized, assembled, and reviewed.
An attorney who doesn’t want to pay you a retainer of 10 hours puts you in a position of having to return soon for an additional retainer or exceed the number of hours on the retainer. Then you will have to begin the often time-consuming collection process.
Toxic Client Statements
Here are some other types of toxic clients. These are all comments that I have heard myself.
- “I’m happy to pay you a fee if the expert you supply agrees with my theory of the case.”
- “I just need to name an expert within three days. I don’t need her to review the records. I just need to use a name.”
- “I didn’t settle the case for as much as I hoped. So, I want you to reduce your fee.”
- “I can’t afford to pay your work on my dozens of cases. I will pay you when they settle.”
The answer to all of these statements is NO.
Are you an unintentional magnet for toxic clients?
Are you attracting toxic clients?
If so, is it because if you’re inexperienced, you sound inexperienced, or you sound desperate to get cases? Do you look inexperienced?
I recommend taking a hard look at the quality of your website. Does it look homemade, or does it project a professional air? You could subliminally blow it by having poor-quality or off-target images or images that actively contradict your message.
Make every part of your message, including the visual pieces, consistently represent the quality of your ideal client and what that ideal client is looking for. This represents your branding.
It all comes back to your message. Make sure your branding and your message are clear and you’re targeting the right client. That’s essential. Doing this properly can deter a toxic attorney from ever coming into contact with you at all. That’s much better than wrangling with them or firing them.
Get essential tips for identifying and managing toxic clients by requesting instant access to our free online training, How to Deal with Toxic Clients. Get instant access here.