Halloween Podcast Series Episode 4 – The “Bungler” and the “Narcissist”

Halloween Podcast Series <span>Episode 4 &#8211; The &#8220;Bungler&#8221; and the &#8220;Narcissist&#8221;</span>

Good evening. This is Richard Jacobs with Speakeasy Authority Marketing, and Jacobs & Whitehall. Today is day four, where we cover the monsters that affect attorneys and their law firms. These monsters come from three distinct groups of client types: marketing, staff, and family and friends. Any of these three groups contain all kinds of monsters that threaten to ruin and disrupt your practice. This being the season of Halloween, we have 13 unlucky days, where I go into all these monsters that affect your law practices. Today is day four, and we’re going to talk about the bungler and the narcissist. These two monsters are very important for your law practice.

What is a bungler? It isn’t a bundler, it’s a bungler—someone who keeps screwing up. You’ve all undoubtedly had clients like this. They can’t seem to do things right. You’ve given them instructions to not post on social media about playing golf while claiming to be hurt after an auto accident, yet they do it anyway. You tell them not to post on social media about anything that their spouse will see that could hurt their ability to maintain or get custody of their children, but they keep screwing it up. You tell them not to continue driving while their license is suspended because they’re already headed for a DUI, and if they get pulled over on a suspended license, they’re going to have all kinds of other problems…but they do it anyway. You tell them not to get in any more trouble because they’re already under indictment or facing misdemeanor or felony charges, and if they go near that school or person, then they’ll be in violation of the protective order, or if they are seen with these kinds of people, the judge is going to go really harshly on them…but they do it.

There is another type of bungler, which is one that is back for their second, third, fourth, or fifth DUI, or their second, third, or fourth domestic violence case, or they seem to get in accidents and slip-and-falls every year. What is going on with these people? No matter how good your representation, you’re unlikely to get good results for people who serially offend and just can’t keep themselves out of trouble. They keep getting in their own way.

It may be okay to take these people on, they may be a good source of money, and you may think they’re good clients. But at some point, their luck is going to turn because of their own incompetence. When it does, you don’t want to be there when they write that bad review, or when they stop paying your fees, or when they hate you and go to the bar and claim you didn’t practice properly or committed some kind of fraud or illegality in your representation. You don’t want them telling people that you didn’t represent them to the fullest when it was their fault.

You want to identify this. You might have repeat clients who you think might just be gold mines who you can continually get money from, but sometimes they are, and sometimes they’re not. Or, you might have a client in a really high stakes case who you have advised on what to do or what not to do, and they are causing themselves problems. You have to cut that off early, because if you have an important case, even if it’s the first case for someone, and they’re screwing it up, then they are probably going to blame you. If they screw up their own case and ruin their own chances, they’re never going to blame themselves, because they’re a bungler. Be aware of these people and make sure they don’t drag you down with them and bungle and mess up your law practice.

The next type of client monster is the narcissist. This is someone who just has to let the world know every time they eat a meal, every time they go to a party, every time they talk to someone, or every time their kids say “Hello” or “I love you dad.” Whatever it is, the narcissist is all over social media posting everything and anything. This relates to the bungler, who is well-intentioned.

The narcissist is concerned about themselves and what’s happening with them; they don’t realize that their behavior can affect family members, their case, and your ability to defend them. It affects a lot of things, but they’re just a narcissist, so they have to talk about themselves. These people usually make terrible people to put on the stand, because they’ll just talk and say everything, and they won’t even know that they’re causing themselves trouble. They’ll post all kinds of inappropriate things on social media and just add fuel to the prosecutor’s fire or the other party’s fire.

I’m not telling you how to practice law; I’m just telling you to look out for these kinds of people and get them in check early. Give them specific examples of how you have had clients who were very well-meaning, but posted certain things or talked to certain people and ruined their whole case because they weren’t aware that the world doesn’t care about them, and the legal system doesn’t care about them.

The legal system has other jobs and other cares, and in order for you to defend them properly—whether in family law, estate planning, a will contest, an auto accident, getting them out of a commercial lease, or anything else—they can’t be posting stuff all over the place. They’ve got to keep quiet; they may not be able to talk to anyone about their case, which is very hard for narcissists to do, but you have to instruct these people because they have to stay quiet.

What do you expect them to do when it comes to your law firm? They may post all kinds of stuff about it, including negative reviews which can result in a lack of referrals. It can be a nightmare. You have to manage these clients and look out for them. Be careful. In certain situations, they may actually cause you to feel uncomfortable with an ethical situation. For instance, there may be a family law case where kids are involved, and the parent that you’re representing is a narcissist who really doesn’t care about the welfare of the kids; they’re just using them as a tool against the other parent and they really don’t care what happens to them. It’s not easy to defend someone and to know this, especially if you love kids, and this will trouble you.

Narcissists can pull on your ethical base and push you in directions where you don’t want to go ethically. They can compromise you as a person on a personal level, not just professionally. You want to be careful and not let yourself be dragged into their world, because they want all the attention. They want everything to be about them, and it cannot only be about them. You have other clients to service.

You have your own family to support, you have your own firm, and you may have your own employees. Your professionalism, dignity, and platform cannot be compromised by a narcissistic client. Watch out for these people. They’re actually a form of vampire, but just be very careful.

Today is day four of the monsters that affect your law practice and want to suck the life from it. Take heed

Richard Jacobs

About Richard Jacobs

My name is Richard Jacobs, and I've discovered quite a bit about the plight of solo practitioners and small, 2-5 attorney firms like yours these past 12 years.

I've come to understand the unique challenges in marketing ethically and effectively that attorneys face because I have:

  • Helped over 180 attorneys author their own practice area book and become the 'implied expert' in their practice area
  • Helped hundreds of attorneys successfully navigate Google's search algorithm changes, growing their websites from 2 potential clients calling a month to 4+ calls per DAY for some clients.
  • Interviewed and promoted over 507 attorneys nationwide, in practice areas such as:
  • DUI / DWI
  • Family Law
  • Criminal Defense
  • Bankruptcy
  • Auto Accidents
  • Social Security Disability
  • Slip & Falls (Premises Liability)
  • Real Estate
  • Estate Planning / Probate
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Expungements / Post Conviction Relief

Before you decide to invest in your marketing, it makes sense to first request your complimentary, custom, no obligation video website review.

Richard is the author of 6 books published on Amazon, Kindle and Audible.com

Richard is available for speaking engagements on direct marketing for attorneys and has recently spoken at the following legal conferences:

  • PILMMA (Personal Injury Lawyers Marketing & Management Association)
  • Las Vegas DUI Summit – Private event for DUI attorneys
  • New York Boutique Lawyers Association
  • Perry Marshall & Associates Marketing Academy (Marina Del Rey, CA)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL)