When a Client Rips You on Social Media, Respond Like Kathy Griffin's Attorney
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I don't know why Kathy Griffin is so angry with her attorney and maybe it's for good reason. But that's not important to you and me. What's important is how her attorney reacted.
Griffin, the comedian who loves to take aim at celebrities, earlier this year caused a you-know-what-storm when she published a photo of herself with a severed head that coincidentally resembled the head of our current sitting President. Free speech is free speech, but Griffin upset a lot of people. Responding to the uproar, she conducted a controversial press conference alongside her then-attorney, Lisa Bloom, to defend her actions, claiming that she had received death threats and was under investigation by the Secret Service.
Months have passed since the incident. Things seemed to have died down, but not the war of words between Griffin and her former attorney. Unfortunately, as reported by the New York Daily News over the weekend, their relationship has deteriorated to the point where Griffin is demanding that Bloom stop calling her and refund the fees she paid.
“If you’d like to refund me the tens of thousands of $$ I wasted on your services maybe I’ll talk to you,” Griffin tweeted over the weekend. "Yes, I got Bloomed." Griffin went on to say in another Facebook post. "I didn't have a good experience with her. Yes, I feel that she and her husband exacerbated my personal situation."
Ouch. Getting smacked down by a client is hard enough, but having it all on public display is about as tough as it gets. I don't claim to know the circumstances behind the dispute, so I’m not saying who’s to blame, but as a business owner I empathize with Bloom. I've been in her predicament a few times. We provide services to the best of our abilities, yet a client still isn't happy. The reasons don't matter. Emails are exchanged. Insults fly. Things are written that should never be written. In the past I've handled these situations terribly. I behave like a child. I point fingers. I circle the wagons, defend our actions and call out the client's shortcomings. Yup, I’ve done all that. Repeatedly. I never learn, even after I lose the client forever and look like a dope.
I don't think that Twitter is any place to resolve a client-attorney dispute, but then again Bloom does have a reputation to uphold and Griffin took to the public medium to call her out. Understandably, Bloom felt forced to respond publicly. But the attorney, to her credit, did not behave in the childish manner that would have been more fitting of…well…me. Instead, she wrote a lengthy, courteous and professional response.
Bloom blamed Griffin for not following the notes that the two had written together during the press conference. But she said that she "respected (Griffin’s) right to speak as she saw fit" and went on to say that although the incident saddens her she "still believes that Kathy Griffin is one of the funniest comics alive and that she meant no ill-will with the photo and I wish her the best."
She took the high road.
No one really knows the whole story about what went on between Bloom and Griffin except for Bloom and Griffin. I'm sure both sides have their reasonable grievances. But what's more important is how a professional behaves when a client is upset. Regardless of the facts and irrespective of your emotions, the right thing to do is to take the high road. I've learned -- the hard way -- that getting into fights never makes me feel any better. And it always makes me look bad.