Getting angry over someone driving recklessly and putting the lives of other people in danger is not unacceptable if it arises from indignation for the violation of the law and a desire for the evildoer to receive proper retribution.However, Anger is a vice when it negatively affects the attorney’s decision process or pushes him to “get even” and/or enjoy the new client’s frustration (Cruelty).
In this scenario, there is no real reason to have the client wait unnecessarily, or to have the receptionist dismiss him without an explanation. The attorney should control his temper (Meekness) and focus on the facts.
First of all, there’s a possibility that he can help a reckless driver understand his mistakes, which is an important service to everyone’s safety (Love of Human Life) within the entire society (Promoting the Common Good). The attorney can help the new client become a better citizen.
Secondly, he has to distinguish the incident on the road from his professional role as an attorney (Reason). They are distinctively different and don’t need to overlap. But if they do, they could prevent the establishment of a good attorney-client relationship, and the attorney could refuse to assist the new client (Diligence). If the attorney is angry and/or the client does not respect him, the attorney may, for example, ignore what the client says out of annoyance or resentment, or he may enjoy the client’s misfortune to the point of slightly facilitating his misfortune (Good Deliberation).
Being frank with the client about the morning incident is the best way to smooth things over, and see if it is possible to move on and start working on the client’s cases (Truthfulness). Certainly, the attorney should focus more on the advantages for his firm to have a new client rather than on his bad feelings for the client’s reckless driving in the morning (Foresight). Is it worth refusing to take a new client because of bad feelings?
Special Circumstances to Consider:
- If the new client immediately realizes who you are and sincerely apologizes
- If for any reason you cannot afford to lose the new client.
- If you are not the owner of the firm, and dismissing the new client is not up to you.
Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.