The Client Who is Angry or Hostile

This is the client who is unhappy and continues to be unhappy regardless of what you achieve on their behalf. This client also tends to transfer their displeasure onto those around them. Transfers of their hostility may be made to you, your support staff, or others in your office.

When dealing with angry and hostile clients it is important to treat the client with a firm hand. Clearly set out what is and is not appropriate behaviour. Do not allow an angry or hostile client to establish a habit of treating others poorly or transferring their anger in your workplace. If appropriate, you may wish to recommend your client to a professional better able to help them deal with their frustrations.

Angry clients are often struggling with strong emotions of fear, hurt, and/or poor self-esteem. Acting out in anger is a common way people seek to assert control over their lives. If your client is angry, it is important that as their lawyer, you learn to recognize, understand, and empathize. Talk with your client and truly listen to what they have to say. Help them feel heard. Focus on solutions in your response and help the client realize what it is they truly want to achieve. What they are asking for may not actually be what they want. By talking with and listening to your client, you can help them decipher what they need.