How to Be a Good Colleague -- Don't Take that Case

We've all been there. You are in an initial consultation and your prospective client says, "The other attorney is [insert name of attorney you hate with a white-hot passion]."

You're first reaction is, "Oh, hell no. " However, as your prospective client keeps talking and offers your thousands of dollars to take her case, your second reaction becomes: "Well, you know [insert name of attorney you hate with a white-hot passion] wasn't really that bad. Maybe it will be different this time."

Never trust that second reaction. It's a siren song induced by your inordinate love of money. Think of it this way: you would never interact with [insert name of attorney you hate with a white-hot passion] if someone weren't waiving money in your face, right? Right. That's how you know it's a siren song. And if you give in to that song, you will find yourself, like so many sailors of yore, capsized on the rocks.

Part of being a good colleague is knowing when discretion is the better part of valor. If you really can't stand another attorney, that's okay. We all have those people in our lives. Accept it and move on.

What you shouldn't do is continue taking cases against that attorney. Instead, remind yourself of the horrible phone calls, the snarky emails, the threats of sanctions, and the feeling in your stomach prior to every court hearing. Is that torture worth the money? Is a few thousand dollars really worth the stress and apprehension every time you open your inbox? It's not. It's never worth it.

And don't worry. You will not go out of business if you refer the case to another attorney. You'll be okay.

In fact, you'll be much better off because we all know we end up spending incredible amounts of time we never bill when we have cases against attorneys we hate. You don't want to lose to [insert name of attorney you hate with a white-hot passion], so you try extra hard. At the same time, you don't want your client to pay for your personal disdain, and you don't bill 100% of your time. So, not only are you stressed by the other attorney's jerkedness, you're also not getting paid as you should.

Don't give in to the siren song. Stay strong, and don't take that case. It will be the best decision you'll ever make.

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