Many lawyers are under the mistaken assumption that they ought to accept any case that comes their way, if it's within a stone's throw of their particular specialty—after all, why turn your back on a guaranteed fee, no matter how paltry?
The fact is, though, that the most successful lawyers make a habit of rejecting minor cases, yet they do so in a way that impresses, rather than offends, the would-be client. Here are two diametrically opposed ways you can reject a case:
A. Tell the client, imperiously, that you have better things to do with your time, and you wouldn't touch his case with the proverbial hundred-foot pole for fear that it would sully your otherwise well-regarded practice. Then quickly show him the door or slam down the phone with a dramatic flourish.
B. Tell the client that you would love to take on his case, but you are currently handling three or four major lawsuits and wouldn't be able to give his lawsuit the attention it deserves. Give him the phone numbers of some reliable lawyers who are still building their practice and would love to represent his case.
Which rejection would you be more flattered by? If you use technique A, you'll get your point across, but not only will you never see that potential client again, he'll tell everyone he knows to steer well clear of you. If you use technique B, the rejected client may well keep you in mind if he has a bigger, more lucrative case down the road, because he can see that you're polite, sincere, and protective of your valuable time.
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