Put a group of associates together in a room and the conversation will quickly turn to war stories of dealing with difficult people. It might be the partner who has no idea how long it takes to actually do the work, the counsel who believes that you have nothing else to do but work on their matters 23 hours per day seven days a week, or the senior associate bent on showing the partners how hard he or she can drive more junior associates.

Some of the war stories are the stuff of legend (and we suspect that many are in fact urban myth). Below are some thoughts on how to deal with difficult people, which we have organized into five basic rules. While it would serve you well to follow these rules in your everyday practice, they are especially important when dealing with those more difficult personalities.

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