Law firms can be magnets for high-conflict personalities. LSJ has these 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 US, law firms are magnets for high-conflict personalities. It makes sense – any client seeking legal assistance is in some form of conflict that they failed to resolve through non-legal means. They go to lawyers for help, who themselves are trained to compete in high-conflict situations whether it’s mediation, negotiation or litigation in court. While high-conflict personalities can lead to 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, now travels the world training professionals to work for, with and alongside high-conflict individuals. She suggests these strategies for lawyers facing off against high-conflict clients and colleagues.