'Irretrievable' Client Schisms Not Always How They Appear

By Andrew Strickler (January 21, 2022, 4:49 PM EST) -- "Irretrievable breakdown." For most of us, the phrase brings to mind grim images of marital acrimony, or maybe a divorce court judge banging a gavel on daytime TV.

But when you're talking lawyer-client breakups, the phrase can be so much more — a coded "wink wink" to the court, a convenient catchall, and an ethical defense mechanism.

While most often evoked when a client stops paying, it's also used as a linguistic shield for lawyers and clients' dirty laundry. In some instances, lawyers evoke the phrase — or the equally fuzzy "irreconcilable differences" — to describe a schism that is, in...

Stay ahead of the curve

In the legal profession, information is the key to success. You have to know what’s happening with clients, competitors, practice areas, and industries. Law360 provides the intelligence you need to remain an expert and beat the competition.


  • Access to case data within articles (numbers, filings, courts, nature of suit, and more.)
  • Access to attached documents such as briefs, petitions, complaints, decisions, motions, etc.
  • Create custom alerts for specific article and case topics and so much more!

TRY LAW360 FREE FOR SEVEN DAYS

Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!