Non-paying clients spell trouble for a lawyer’s private practice. Experienced lawyers know that non-paying clients have to be let go to better serve paying clients. It is but fair, just, and reasonable to the clients who have paid and thus are assured that the lawyer will devote sufficient time and attention to their concerns.
Lawyers, by the very nature of the legal profession, can only do one particular work, in one place, at any given time. They cannot and should not multi-task as focus is crucial in doing legal work.
Hence, a lawyer is either appearing in a court hearing, attending a meeting, drafting a legal document, or managing administrative tasks in his law office. He cannot be doing two or more at these same time.
To add, there is only a definite number of hours in a day. If the lawyer prioritizes his health, he knows that rest and sleep are vital to his health and well-being, which, in turn, would serve the best interests of the clients. If the lawyer foolishly de-prioritizes his health, he will be harming himself and by consequence his clients.
It thus becomes crucial for the lawyer to be wise in the giving of his time and attention.
For every time and resources spent on a client, it means the lessening of the availability thereof to be given on other clients.
This is where fairness, justness, and reasonableness comes in.
From the paying client’s perspective, it would be quite unfair, if not distasteful, if his lawyer is attending to matters of a non-paying client. I know I would, if I were the client.
Accordingly, if the lawyer has any sense of fairness, he is to ensure that the causes and concerns of the paying clients should be given more time and attention. They should be preferred and prioritized. Thus, they should not be penalized or experience any issues on the legal service on account of a non-paying client.
Lawyers who are professional in their approach to providing legal services, know how to say no and bid farewell to non-paying clients to protect the interests of their paying clients. After all, that is what the lawyers were hired and paid for by the clients who truly value the legal services being rendered.
Pro bono clients are in a different classification. While they are non-paying, the lawyer services them out of goodwill and generosity.