Giving the pink slip . . . to a client

Attorneys need to get and keep quality, paying clients to stay in business.  An attorney without any clients is unemployed, the same as if he lost a job working for a company.  The competition for clients can be intense, particularly in an area where I live that has over 7,000 licensed attorneys in the county.

It is against this backdrop that I tell you I had to fire (give the pink slip to) a client for the first time recently.  This was a quality, paying client.  It was a client I had worked with for nearly six years. I do not have another client of this size ready to move in.  I have lost clients and had clients that simply didn’t call me any longer.  However, until now I have never made the decision to fire a client who wanted to continue to work with me.

Why did I fire the client?  The costs of continuing the relationship (financial, emotional, psychological) outweighed the benefits of continuing the relationship, such benefits being primarily financial.

This decision didn’t come easily.  I made it after months of thinking, analyzing and praying about it.  What I realized was if I do not exercise some discretion over who I represent, I have eliminated the benefits of being self-employed.  Along those lines, the toll that working on this client relationship takes on me detracts from other work and finding new clients.

I do not relish this situation nor do I take it lightly.  One of my primary concerns is making certain that the client is able to transition to another attorney, to which it is better suited, with a minimum of difficulty.  I don’t think so highly of myself to believe I the am only one who can represent this client.

Am I crazy to cast away a client who is quality people, pays regularly and provides a decent amount of work?




Posted by Shawn Roberts

On this blog, I write about and try to answer practical Oklahoma legal questions. My focus and most experience is in estate planning and business issues including Oklahoma non-compete law. I make a living as an attorney in the law firm I founded, Cazes Roberts, PLLC in Oklahoma City. I live in Edmond with wife Amy and my two children, Sam (17) and David (9). We live precisely in the path of where the "wind comes sweeping down the plains."