Malaysians tend to regard lawyers very highly, what with parents of all ethnicities urging their children to either study law, medicine or engineering.
People with careers in law are regarded by the general public as intelligent, well-spoken individuals and of course, rich.
With the number of cases that go through the courts daily, there is never a shortage of clients calling on law firms to represent them.
But is it easy being a lawyer? It is certainly not a bed of roses with mountains of paperwork to assail for a single case. Sometimes, it is the clients themselves who prove to be more of a hassle.
Here are the worst clients attorneys have to deal with:
1. The dishonest
In order for lawyers to fight a good case, a client must be completely honest with them.
Some clients, either due to ego, malice or idiocy, will omit and alter facts of their testimony which can fall apart under closer scrutiny and thus, give the other side an advantage.
The most offensive thing a client can do to a lawyer is ask them to lie on their behalf.
In addition to being thoroughly unethical, it is also insulting to the profession as a whole and can easily result in the lawyer dropping said deceptive client.
It should be noted lying in court is a serious crime in itself and can and will result in charges of perjury, which can result in imprisonment.
2. The cheapskate
“Can’t you just represent me pro bono?”
It is common knowledge that lawyer fees do not come cheap.
Some well-meaning law firms do cut their fees when representing financially-incapable clients or when an injustice has clearly been done.
But when it becomes clear that a client is more interested in arguing about consultation fees than details about the case itself, a lawyer will know that it might just be time to cut ties.
There is also something of a delicious irony of a lawyer suing their client for not paying their owned and agreed dues.
3. The ‘know-it-all’
Remember that one student in school who claimed to know all the answers but actually had none of them? Well, they are now all grown up and are having their socks sued off them.
While lawyers have to spend years in law school learning each and every facet of the legal system, this client thinks they know everything about the law after reading one article online.
All a lawyer can do is listen and sigh as the “know-it-all” tries to argue that they have a case based on irrelevant or even foreign laws.
One must wonder why this client even hired a lawyer in the first place if they have so much misplaced confidence in their extremely limited knowledge of the law.
4. The impatient
Anyone who has read about court cases in the news will know that it can take ages before they are finally heard.
In a country with thousands of suits filed every other day, there is quite the backlog of cases in the court system.
Lawyers are unsurprisingly aware of this and consequently, tend to encourage their clients to settle out-of-court to avoid a lengthy proceeding that may take place months after the suit has been filed.
However, some clients seem to be completely oblivious as to how court cases work and expect theirs to be heard literally immediately after filing their lawsuit.
It gets a little tedious for lawyers to tell an impatient client for the umpteenth time that the courts will eventually tend to the case, and it is not necessary to call them daily expecting an update.
5. The stubborn
“To win this case, all you have to do is not do this one particular thing.”
“…I just did this one particular thing. What should I do?”
As obstinate as a mule, this client is hard to help as they refuse to take their lawyer’s advice, no matter how helpful it may be.
In fact, they seem to have acquired a habit in sabotaging their own case by their constant refusal to take their lawyer’s word with any level of seriousness.
A lawyer’s patience can only last so long before they realise their time and expertise are not being appreciated by this human mule.
6. The insane
This is the one client that any experienced lawyer will refuse to have anything to do with in the first place given the choice.
They are the sort who will threaten to sue their mothers for not inviting them to family gatherings and other similarly outlandish reasons.
Their expectations are utterly high and extremely unrealistic, and it is simply impossible to satisfy them.
Almost always, this client will expect nothing less than a complete and decisive victory in court, and will dismiss any talk of an out-of-court settlement as their inflated ego will disallow it.
It should not come as a surprise if they end up claiming that their case is bad because of the lawyer’s supposed malpractice.
7. The two-faced
A snake through and through, on the onset of the case, this client will be remarkably friendly and seemingly compliant with their attorney’s advice.
However, the mask will start to slip when things do not go according to plan.
And when the case starts to turn against them, they will pile the blame on the attorney, whether or not it was their fault.
Claims that the attorney had not fought hard enough will be made, much to the exhausted lawyer’s indignation.
Insulting a lawyer’s professionalism can only go so far before bridges are burnt completely to cinders.