How do employment lawyers choose clients? Mike Maslanka, a defense employment lawyer, talks about this topic. He discusses a talk he had with a plaintiff employment lawyer from Houston. The Houston lawyer said he asks two questions: 1) what reason did the employer give for terminating you? 2) what was the real reason? This plaintiff lawyer from Houston said he believed these two questions would "pry out the truth" regarding what happened. I agree these two questions are key.
Mike then offers his version; as a defense oriented employment lawyer, he considers two quotes when choosing clients: 1) Salespersons often say the best sale they make is the one they did not make, and 2) Mark Twain warned that is often easier to stay out than to get out later. I agree. As Mike says, life is too short to deal with difficult clients. I agree completely.
This is especially true when considering plaintiff clients. As I have mentioned before, very, very few potential clients come see me because they seek revenge or because they are looking for a pot of gold. Most simply want some sort of vindication or recognition by someone in authority that they have been wronged. But, they do want me to represent them sometimes with as little investment on their part as possible. They want me to take their case on contingency with no requirement that they pay anything. So, yes, they may not tell me all the bad news in that first meeting. We need to "pry it out" sometimes. And, in the prying out process, we do sometimes learn which clients we need to avoid for many reasons.