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Loss Prevention Tip #30

Evaluating Potential Clients

One of the most effective ways to avoid an insurance claim is to carefully evaluate the potential client before you take the case.


  • Do you have a potential conflict of interest?
  • Do you have the expertise to handle the matter?
  • Is the case worth taking? Can you afford to take the case? Can the client pay?
  • Does your current caseload allow you enough time to handle the case?
  • Can you meet any impending deadlines?
  • Could the case create case law that might adversely affect existing clients?
  • Insurance claims often result from a lawyer-client personality conflict or from an overly demanding or overly emotional client. You will need to rely more on intuition than logic in this phase of screening. Recognize which personality types you can’t handle and avoid them. Develop and then use criteria for evaluating cases and clients.


  • A case that has been declined by another lawyer
  • A client who changes lawyers frequently or in the middle of a case
  • A client with a history of lawsuits – you may be next
  • A client concerned only with the “principle of the matter”
  • A dishonest client
  • A client shopping fees or only concerned with the price
  • A client wanting to do too much of the work to save money
  • A client who “knows the law” and wants to run the case
  • A client who will not listen to your advice
  • A “gut feeling” not to accept the case

Stop…before accepting a case, remember that every client could file an insurance claim against you. When in doubt, decline the case! In the long run, an insurance claim can cost you more than a lost fee.

(Excerpt from Issue #60, CLIA Loss Prevention Bulletin)