The art of saying goodbye starts very simply with a list: should you say goodbye?
Does the client pay his/her bill or not?
Does he/she fight you over the amount you have charged?
Does he/she follow your advice or just use you to justify his/her bullying behavior to others?
Is she trying to become your friend and making it tough to bill her?
Does she contradict your every action on her behalf by saying she never told you to do what you are doing?
Do you leave a conference with her/him scratching your head and wondering what the heck is wrong with you?
These are just a few warning signs that you need to withdraw from the case before you do any of the list below.
Change your billing rate for the client
Continually negotiate your bill
Wonder if the ethics board is going to get involved in a potential suit because the client just isn’t happy with whatever you are representing her on
If you see any of these actions on your part in any of your cases, the time has come to say goodbye to the client.
The best way is to be honest. Tell the client there are certain standards and assumptions that you have to bring to any case as a good and responsible attorney. You have to tell him/her that it is your own standards that force you to part ways with her/him.
Stick by your guns. File a withdrawal in court. Allow the client time to find other representation while you are continuing to be kept on the books as her or his attorney. Then burn a cd with all the case work to hand on to the next attorney or if the client chooses to represent him or her self then send the cd to the client.
And write a note to yourself about lessons learned.