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Law firms are magnets for high-conflict personalities. High-conflict expert Megan Hunter shares her tips for lawyers managing difficult clients and colleagues.

The client who demands to sue for every last cent. The manager who tells you off in the open-plan office. The colleague who only communicates via passive aggressive emails. Almost all lawyers come into contact with high-conflict personalities at work. The question is not whether – but how – we should deal with these people when we
meet them.

According to Megan Hunter, a former family law specialist with the Arizona Supreme Court and co-founder of the High Conflict Institute in the United States, law firms are magnets for high-conflict personalities. It makes sense. Any client seeking legal assistance is embroiled in some form of conflict they failed to resolve through non-legal means. They seek help from lawyers, who themselves are trained to compete in high-conflict situations, whether it’s mediation, negotiation or litigation. While high-conflict personalities can get great results for the client, they are not always easy to work with.

Hunter, who worked on divorces and parenting disputes in the Arizona Supreme Court for 13 years, travels the world training professionals to work for, with, and alongside high-conflict individuals. On the eve of a seminar on 23 August at the Law Society, she suggests these strategies for lawyers facing off against high-conflict clients and colleagues.

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