What should I (the attorney) do if the client is hostile, aggressive, calls me names and I feel threatened?

Amazing that this happens.  I always think that, when I’m representing someone and they know I hold the keys to whatever they want, that they think I’m going to work harder if they call me names and threaten me.  Nuts!  I’m going to quit, withdraw and get out.  Then what do I do?  Well,

  • Save everything for evidence;
  • Do a threat assessment, including a background check, weapons check, alcohol and drug check;

o   Your client’s past behavior may give you an idea of the likelihood of him

carrying through on any threats.

§  Does he have any arrests?

§  If so, are they for violent acts?

§  Aside from inquiring with the police, is there any otherway you can search for past acts? Can you talk to the client’s neighbors or coworkers to see if he’s acted out violently before?

§  Has he been committed to a mental institution before for being a danger to himself or


o   Did he lose something in his case (custody, alimony, jail) and blame you for it?

o   Does he think you abandoned him or poo-pooed his ideas on the case?

o   Does he know where you live?

o   Does he know what car is yours?

o   Has he been in your office and seen pictures of your wife and kids?

  • How is this client vulnerable?

o   Does he have a life where the threats    he’s made — if discovered — could be embarrassing for him?

o   Does he really value his credit so that a judgment-lien would get his attention?

o   Does he have a job he can’t take time off from?

o   Is he on probation/parole?

o   Does he really value visitation with his kids?

o   Obviously, don’t do anything illegal, but everyone is vulnerable somehow and will respond if squeezed on

those points.

  • Find out as much as you can about him, including

o   where he works,

o   what car he drives,

o   what clothing he tends to favor (e.g. a NY Knicks jacket he wears a lot, etc) so that you can keep an

eye out for anyone who happens to be following you

  • Maybe tell the cops depending.
  • O and check my 101 personal and Business protection tip sheets at my website, www.businessbrawls.com
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