If You Refuse to Take On a Challenging Client

The best practice is to send a non-engagement letter when you decide not to represent someone. 

Make sure:

  • the letter is precisely worded;
  • you inform the person that neither you nor your firm are representing them;
  • you clearly and explicitly warn the person about issues such as impending limitation periods; and
  • you return the person’s file or documents, and if necessary, confirm you will not be responding to the person’s communications in the future.

Often, a challenging client will approach other members of the same firm to request representation. Even in a relatively small firm, the client you declined may end up being represented by another lawyer at your firm. It is best practice for firms to develop a system to track and communicate declined retainers.

A model non-engagement letter precedent can be found on the Law Society’s website.

Last modified: Wednesday, 16 August 2023, 2:22 PM