ADVICE TO A NEARLY QUALIFIED LITIGATOR (2): BE LEGALLY STREETWISE : A LITIGATION CLIENT’S STRATEGY MAY POSSIBLY BE TO BLAME YOU
In the second in this series I am reminding everyone of a very useful post from Darlingtons solicitors . I said at the time it was first written that it deserved wider publication, and they kindly agreed I could reproduce it. (I suspect a lot of hard-earned experience is behind this advice. Darlingtons are to be congratulated for sharing it).
Darlingtons make some very telling points to help the young lawyer.
“Disputes and litigation often bring out the worst in people”
You will almost certainly come across clients who are very streetwise and know their way around litigation situations and life better than you
A litigation client may, as part of his or her strategy, have the intention, from the outset, to possibly blame you for not getting the result they want
Your inexperience and/or naivety may be taken advantage of further by the client seeking credit and/or not paying bills on time. With litigation matters it is imperative to have sufficient money on account, replenished as necessary.
Clients may seek to take advantage of you by trying to get you to be overly aggressive with the opponent’s lawyers and/or compromising your professional position. As a solicitor you have a duty to protect and promote your clients interests but you must also be careful about your ethical duties to other lawyers and the court. Be particularly wary of making any threats at a clients behest to the other party that could be construed as blackmail.
Your client may well not tell you the truth or provide you with full information or documents.
In short, as a junior lawyer you may find that streetwise and savvy clients may deliberately select you as their lawyer for some of the above reasons.”