Are you one of those lawyers thinking of ways to console their clients when they lose cases in Court? Losing a legal battle infuriates even the most loyal clients
Clients’ countenances change the moment judgment is pronounced against them. And they can be very emotional when a prolonged legal battles ends against them.
Morris Udall once said “I’ve been a winner and I’ve been a loser, and believe me, winning is best”.
Maybe your clients have berated you severally for their lost cases. And you felt like ditching law practice and switching over to another business.
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Well, your Clients are not to be blamed for feeling very erratic when they lose cases. After all, the litigation process is not a child’s play because it takes a lot of money and time.
There are occasions where even experience lawyers face clients’ fury which comes with losing cases in Court. And many of them feel like given up their law practice. Some of them have thought of ditching this great and noble profession.
This type of scenario has played out to me and I learnt far too many lessons.
If you want to douse the momentary tension that comes each time your clients lose cases in court and quickly calm the pressure upon your defeated clients, here’s is how:
Accept The Blame
After judgment is pronounced, lawyer-client discussion is not usually friendly — especially for the losing party. It’s usually a moment when clients blame their lawyers for doing one thing or the other wrong.
Admit it or not, your client will always point out a few things that weren’t correctly done when they lose cases. And they will try to shift the blame to you even where it is obvious that you put in your best efforts.
You may feel the loss because you are the lawyer that handled their cases. But your clients feel the defeat more because they are the ones that will be punished or pay sanction that comes thereafter.
In this dark moment, what should be your attitude? Do you go on defence, reminding your clients how they had defaulted in their duty and all of that? That’s silly. It’s an unnecessary waste of time which might do you more harm than good.
If you find yourself in this kind of condition, your best bet is to accept whatever blame that comes and move on. It’s better to admit the fault, so both of you will start thinking a way out than to engage your client in an unprofitable argument over his defeat.
Suggest Possible Remedies
Though your clients ordinarily would blame you because they lose cases, they still depends absolutely on your advice for a way out. They may be bitter for the defeat, but still afraid of their opponents coming angrily to execute the judgment of the Court.
So, they surely hope to get solutions for ways out of their predicament. That being the case, you should be prepared to suggest possible remedies.
When your defeated client keeps calling you during odd hours, banging at the door of your office in an unusual manner or taking loudly while in the office, you should understand he is simply looking for a possible way out.
If there is still any remedy in the law, it’s your responsibility to lay it out for him.
Take Them Out For a Launch
A momentary change of environment can change the mood of your clients. And brief hang-out in a place outside your office, where soft drinks are served, can help calm the chips.
Because losing a case is pretty an unpleasant experience, your clients may not be willing to go with you. But little words of hope from you can cheer them up and help their anger to subside.
There are instances where my mentor will invite his clients and give them bottles of drinks with snags before he disclosed the ugly news. After those cool-off moments, his clients usually come back days or months later to ask him for ways forward.
Promise to Appeal
You tried your best to ensure your clients win their case. But the whole thing came crumbling on the day judgment. Thereafter, your clients are upset and wouldn’t cheer up despite all the attempts you might made in that regard.
If you found yourself in this condition, the best way out is to promise your clients to appeal against the judgment. Let them understand that you can still get the judgment set aside at the appellate Court.
You may not really appeal against the judgment, but your clients will easily recuperate from the loss if you promise to go on appeal.
The moment judgment is delivered and your clients lost, the whole blame usually comes to you – the lawyer. Most times, they think you didn’t do one thing or the other right. But you can shift the blame back to the Court if you promise to appeal against the judgment.
Take Steps to Appeal
If you promise to appeal, your clients will be relieve of their pains. But he won’t relax if you don’t take immediate steps to appeal.
If you want to console your clients when they lose cases, then you shouldn’t just promise to appeal. Start taking steps to appeal immediately.
Here Are things that can make your clients mad after losing cases in Court.
- The thought of their opponents swinging into action to execute the judgment can make them crazy
- The pain of all they spent during the litigation processes can make them think of strangling you
- How they are going to raise money to satisfy the judgment debt if any. This can make them think of drinking poison.
You are supposed to console them by acting fast. You should apply and get a copy of the judgment and file your notice of appeal immediately.
If you take steps to appeal, your clients’ hope will be restored and they will start believing you again. They will no longer worry much about their loses, knowing that the judgment of the Court may still be up-turned at the Court of appeal.
Don’t Ask For Appeal Fees Immediately
You will add salt to injury if you begin to demand or negotiate for appeal fees immediately your client lose a cases. I know this may not sound reasonable for an average lawyer out there. Especially where there are no many briefs in the office.
If you start negotiating appeal fees while your clients are still undergoing an emotional trauma prompted by their defeats, you are going to mess up the whole process. Wait until you get their consent to appeal before talking about your appeal fees. You can ask for your fees – even unpaid ones when things begin to take shape.
Your decision to appeal in this circumstance should be basically voluntary. So don’t border about fees at the initial stage. But don’t allow the appeal to end without getting all your fees unless you decide otherwise.
Consoling your clients when they lose cases in Court is not quite easy. They are occasions where your clients won’t just let go no matter what you do.
No matter the attitude of your clients towards you, don’t leave them helpless in that dark moment. If you could just accept the blame, suggest possible remedies, take them out for launch, promise to appeal, take steps to appeal and appeal without asking for appeal fees immediately, your client will get better.
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