The Client Who Refuses to Accept Your Advice

Even if you communicate well with a client and take time to encourage and answer questions, some clients will refuse to accept your legal advice and instruct you to act in a way that you may not agree with. The client may be upfront about not taking your advice. They may also, however, agree to certain actions and then act opposite of what was agreed on when they leave the room. 

If you find yourself working with a client who refuses to accept your advice, there are several steps you can take. 

First of all, if you feel there has been a serious loss of confidence between yourself and your client, you can elect to withdraw as counsel and recommend the client seek alternative representation. Although a client can terminate the lawyer client relationship at any point, a lawyer has a duty to not withdraw except for good cause and reasonable notice. Section 3.7-2 of the Code highlights that if the client refuses to accept your advice on a significant point, is persistently unreasonable, or uncooperative, the lawyer may opt to withdraw.

Optional Withdrawal 

3.7-2 If there has been a serious loss of confidence between the lawyer and the client, the lawyer may withdraw.

If you do not feel withdrawal is an appropriate option, or you choose to keep working with the client, it is vital that you receive all instructions in writing and document everything. It is much easier to hold a client accountable when you can confront them with proof of past agreements. Furthermore, paper trails can also help protect you against any complaints or negligence claims. Besides keeping notes, you can also require the client refusing to follow your advice to sign an acknowledgment of what you discussed.