Lawyers don’t deal with the same kinds of issues as other types of professions. Many of their trials and tribulations are unique to working on the legal side of life. It is true though that there are issues that arise which occasionally or frequently reoccur and create a déjà vu feeling.
Here are some of the common issues that lawyers can face and ways to handle them.
Problems Over Client Billing
Preparing correct invoices for clients to bill for the hours that the legal team has put in on their behalf isn’t a strong suit for lawyers. It leans more to the accounting side and subsequently may get put off to a later date. It’s not uncommon to see law firms that are months behind with their billing because one or more lawyers are procrastinating on submitting their billable hours. It would be easy to confuse this tendency with apathy towards getting paid, however, that’s just not true at all.
It’s essential to remove the complexity and reluctance to get the billing and invoicing completed. To accomplish this, usually, software that speeds up the task is best. Clio is a solution that is used by more than 150,000 law firms globally and is worth a look. In this post you can see a comprehensive review of Clio software to see if it will help out procrastinating lawyers with their billables.
Difficult Clients Being Overly Demanding
Any business that deals one-on-one with clients has tales to tell about now legendary “nightmare clients” that they once dealt with daily. That’s certainly true of lawyers who often must deal with an assortment of different characters, each one more amusing or troublesome than the last.
For lawyers, they must avoid spending too many billable hours on a case just because the client is difficult to handle. While in theory, the client will ultimately be paying for all the calls and interruptions that they create, the level of interruptions and problems can make it difficult to strategize, negotiate and otherwise provide the best representation on behalf of these same clients.
Lawyers must thread the needle between being a professional representative of their legal interests and not becoming a caretaker of unruly behavior.
Taking on Too Many Cases
Whether most of the cases go to court or settle before things go that far, taking on too many cases at the same time often creates more problems than it solves.
For one thing, court dates can arise on more than one case that conflict with each other, requiring the lawyer to request a postponement. It also just becomes mentally too much to juggle when there are too many cases outstanding, client names, and legal details to remember.
While the need to create sufficient billable hours requires lawyers to take on extra work when it’s offered, a balance must be found to avoid getting overwhelmed.
Moral Dilemma of Representing a Guilty Client
Representing someone who is guilty or who is suspected of being guilty creates some deep moral dilemmas for lawyers.
When it’s a simple traffic violation that hasn’t caused pain or injury to another party, then it doesn’t matter either way. However, in a homicide or rape case (to name just two types), it’s very different. The mounting evidence can at the very least create ambiguity about whether the client is, in fact, guilty of the crime. Also, knowing that they are may change the approach to the case too.
Whether or not they should ask the client if they are guilty is a judgment call for lawyers. In the more serious cases, they often don’t want to know in the belief that it will get in the way of their best representation of their client. However, there are also times when it’s necessary to confirm either way because it will materially change the legal approach or their response to a given situation.
For lawyers managing a busy roster of clients, they are always hitting up against unexpected issues. Sometimes, there’s a common theme among a few of the issues as indicated above which sometimes makes them easier to handle (but not always). However, each lawyer finds their own way to deal with common issues in order to not deter them from providing a proper representation of each of their clients.
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