I’ve had to turn away a good number of clients and I have tried very hard to explain to each why that is. It strikes me as a good idea to outline this policy a bit here. There are two possible categories:
So far, the majority of the people I have turned away are prospective students. There are two scenarios that seem to be unfolding. Scenario 1: You want to go to x *school and from my initial conversation I can tell it seems immensely probable you will get into *x school, and likely with scholarship money. What will become an underlying theme in this post is that I can’t do anything for you. The combination of what you are bringing to the table as an applicant vis-a-vis the school(s) you are telling me where you want to attend has me feeling great about your situation. Dot every “i” and cross every “t” and let me know how it goes. Scenario 2: You have your heart set on one (or possibly a select few, although this has not happened) law schools and everything you are telling me makes me think that until something changes substantially, it just is not likely at all. I am more than happy to offer some advice on other schools to apply to but if your mind is made up on Yale, for example, and if I think there is very little chance you will get admitted to Yale I won’t take you on as a client. In the end, this would serve us both poorly.
I am very upfront with each client that in this economy in particular, a successful job search takes time (although today brought a happy and quick turnaround for one of my first clients, testimonial will follow!). Every situation is different and some are more challenging than others. I spend a great deal of time, for free, on the initial phone call, talking about the challenges and the limitations of what I can do. I do believe I can help the majority of clients here, but I also believe that knowing the law of the land helps both of us. If someone has completely unrealistic expectations of either the timeline, of their ability to seek particular employment I will not take them on as a client.
*I can say with confidence that everyone who knows me, or this venture, well knows that I would not be doing this any other way than the right way. We have had and will continue to have tremendous success stories. There will also be periods of frustration–that I profoundly hope to minimize–for some clients. If I ever think that the later is more likely than the former I am going to let you know upfront.