If You Decide to Take on a Difficult Client

If you decide to take on a difficult client, clearly explain how the relationship is going to work.  Be unambiguous about what you expect from the client and about what the client can expect from you.  Put the parameters of the relationship in writing, including how you will communicate with the client and in what time frame. Ensure that you respect those parameters.
Remember that you have an obligation to respond to clients in a timely manner, and to keep them informed of the conduct of their file.  See section 3.2 of the Law Society of New Brunswick Code of Professional Conduct, hereinafter the “Code of Conduct” in its entirety for your responsibilities with respect to the quality of service you provide to your clients.  
If you suspect the client's ability or willingness to pay may be an issue, you may consider taking a substantial, but appropriate, retainer. The client should replenish the retainer as it is depleted, and understand that you will not continue to work without a replenished retainer (see the module on Retainers for discussion of retainers). Ensure, however, that the client’s interests are protected, to the best of your abilities, and that your actions do not harm the client in any way.  It is also good practice to bill difficult clients regularly so that they know when you are working on their matter, and also understand that their frequent contact with your office has a cost.  Frequent billing also serves to provide a link between the work you have just completed and a fair bill.
As with all clients, and particularly with difficult clients, ensure that you maintain proper communication channels.  You may want to communicate with some difficult clients in writing. 
Know when to end the solicitor-client relationship. If it is impossible for you to satisfy the client perhaps it is time to let another lawyer try.  However, before you decide to end the relationship, review the module on “Withdrawal of Services” and ensure that you satisfy your responsibilities and obligations under the Code of Conduct.  A lawyer must not withdraw from representation of a client except for good cause and on reasonable notice to the client (see Rules 3.7-1 to 3.7-10 of the Code of Conduct).
These guidelines will help to manage difficult clients, and prevent others from becoming difficult. While you may take on a difficult client, you should take steps to ensure a workable and positive solicitor-client relationship.