When a door closes, a window opens. There is no word for crisis in Chinese, just danger plus opportunity. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. One man’s [insert bad thing here] is another man’s opportunity.
Screw this, I give up. The saying I’m actually going for is something to the effect of this: sometimes opportunities are better left un-seized. No good? Oh well, good thing I didn’t quit my day job to become an motivational speaker. I think I’ll just defer to Thomas Edison, who is rumored to have said something about how most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.
I’m writing this because after I wrote about a potential new client’s family asking a question that removed me from their list of potential new lawyers, I got a trackback to a post discussing how I’d missed an opportunity to educate and give context the client lacked. I read the post and left thinking the author, someone named David Ward who may or may not currently be a licensed attorney but who runs something called the Attorney Marketing Center, hadn’t read the post at Simple Justice through which he found mine.
Scott Greenfield’s post at Simple Justice ended with these words about the lawyer who may have gotten that client with questions aplenty:
And even he will end up ruing the day he answered these inane questions, because these are the clients from hell.
I don’t mind work, but as a lawyer, I like legal work. If an opportunity is wearing overalls and looks like legal work, I’m all for it. If it looks like endless hours of fielding questions that are unproductive and suggest months or years of potential conflict as the representation continues, I’d rather pass.
For all I know, I lost a great client. Or I may have narrowly dodged a lot of irritation. Scott hit the nail on head in his post by suggesting that every client isn’t the client a lawyer necessarily wants. If the relationship begins with an uphill battle, there’s an elevated likelihood that may be the case.
David’s post seemed to suggest that lawyers can just snag any client with a little education and ride off happily into the sunset with the fee in hand. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic, but I think that a lot of the time, an opportunity isn’t the right fit.
Sometimes, it’s just an opportunity for hassle.