So for the past few weeks I’ve sort of taken this blog off the beaten path and started writing some shit for prospective purchasers of legal services. Some of that has been by necessity, since my recent reading audience has expanded further than a few attorneys sitting around a Slack channel and some law students from Twitter. So, naturally, because I’m a big ol’ media whore when it comes to this shit, that means that some of my topics have been less in the way of legal thought and more in the way of “Don’t be a fucking moron, kay?”
This has left, quite fucking understandably, some of the attorneys that read the blog feeling like they’ve been tossed on the trash heap for the newer readers, as the topics that are directly pertinent to their interests have decreased while goofy shit, like bondage and Furries, has increased. But what they’re missing is the fact that as I give advice on mundane shit to the muggles, I’m slyly trying to suggest ways a lawyer can switch up some things about their practice and themselves in order to get more of their fucking money.
Like today. Over the past couple weeks I’ve walked some mouth-breathing morons through the process of locating an attorney on Google, because apparently functional adults need to be told how to fucking Google shit, and how to not appear like a complete and utter chucklefuck. I understand the latter may be particularly difficult for members of the great unwashed hordes that call your office asking for free advice, but I’m at least trying to offer better advice than “Shower, and for God’s sake, lay off the fucking Axe body spray. It doesn’t attract women. It attracts shame.” But today is special, because today, at the request of several people, I’m going to toss out five tips on identifying the attorney a client doesn’t want to fucking hire.
And you assholes with bar licenses should perk right the fuck up, too, because I’m not only telling them how to select an attorney, I’m telling you how to stop looking like a complete and total shitstain.
So, that shit said, let’s take a look at the Five Warning Signs that clients should pay attention to.
They Make Promises.
Oh my fucking god, how often do I need to say that a good lawyer will never make you a fucking promise? No lawyer out there is a mindreader or a psychic, though “Psychic Lawyer” would probably be a pretty kickass television show especially if it was a gritty crime drama. No fucking lawyer out there can predict the outcome of your case, or even your mundane legal matter. No lawyer out there will ever assume there will never be a hiccup in any case.
Well, I mean, some lawyers will, and those are the lawyers you should definitely fucking avoid because either 1) they’re not being honest with you, or 2) much like my friend from high school who loved musicals, muscle magazines, and Virginia SuperSlims, he’s just not being honest with himself. By the way, Mark, we knew. We all fucking knew. How’s your husband? I’ll see you guys this weekend.
The fact is, even the most routine legal case can fucking explode into a shit tornado on a moment’s notice, sometimes for no better reason than the fates fucking hate lawyers not being miserable. Every decent attorney out there will speak in possibilities, not definites. A good lawyer will never fucking say “You’ll win this, 100%.” A good lawyer will say “You have a good case” or “This is really fairly routine and simple” and immediately follow it up with “BUT.” Any lawyer who doesn’t is either incompetent or a liar, and you shouldn’t give them your fucking money.
Sidenote: Clients also need to learn to stop fucking pressing us to make them promises on cases. There is no situation where a client should be arguing the strength of the case to the lawyer. The lawyer wants to believe you, because the lawyer wants to take your fucking money.
They Don’t Discuss The Downfalls.
There’s a flip-side to this album, though, and that motherfucker is some lawyers will never warn a client about the potential downfalls or liabilities of the proposed course of action. The reason behind this is pretty damn simple: they don’t want to scare you off, and other lawyers may not be telling you about the fact that some shit is going to take longer to do right, or that you’re likely to be countersued once you actually file the action. If you have one lawyer telling you that you have a decent case, and another who says the same things but then tells you the list of shit that could go wrong, which one are you going to fucking hire?
Well, that’s because you’re a fucking idiot, little Nancy Never Worry.
A decent lawyer has dual roles: they are to act as an advocate for your claim and a counselor for your legal matter. That means not just pursuing the claim that you want them to bring against Denny’s for cutting off the all-you-can-eat pancake deal on you after your third straight day, without a break, in that fucking booth. It means letting you know the dangers and responses that are likely to accrue as a result of your desired course of action, and the potential liability that may be incurred from having thrown an entire pot of hot coffee on the poor waitress while screaming “JUST GO BUY SOME MORE BATTER, BITCH!” Some attorneys will shy away from the second role, though, and not just because of their love of the Lumberjack Slam and the fear they’ll be banned, but because they’re afraid that by presenting you with reality, you’ll think they aren’t dedicated to the case or defeatists.
Folks, only hire a lawyer who not only zealously advocates on your behalf to sue those pancake-fuckers, but is open about the potential pitfalls of doing so…because that’s a lawyer who understands their role.
They Seem Overburdened and Understaffed.
Ever been in a law office where the entire staff consists of the attorney and one secretary who, you later find out, is his fucking wife? That’s not uncommon. A lot of small attorneys and small offices have to manage overhead, and the way they manage the overhead is by cutting back on the legal support services that larger firms often have in place to take as much of the burden off the actual attorney as is humanly possible. My father’s office is ran with a shoestring of staff, as are those of many attorneys I personally know and like, and there’s not any fucking issue with that. In fact, you could argue that the relationship between a small-office lawyer and the client is much fucking closer, because you get a lot more in the way of direct, one-on-one time with the lawyer than you would if you were just another name among a hundred active clients.
It’s a double-edged fucking sword, though, because to remain competitive in the current legal market lawyers, especially solos and small firms, need to take on a metric shit ton of cases at once. This means that the small, understaffed lawyer, if they aren’t careful, can quickly find themselves drowning in a sea of cases all with different deadlines, timelines, and facts on them. When you have that going on, a good lawyer should cut back on the number of cases they take, but the fact is many just don’t. That case could be the one that replaces the case they had before, and it’s a tough old world out there…so they keep churning along.
Eventually, though, the lawyer finds themselves unable to keep up with everything that’s actually going on, and they lack the support staff to actually help keep them on task or scheduled for shit, and then some phone calls start going unreturned, an email is never read, a letter is never opened…and all of the sudden your case is dismissed.
Let me be clear: this is not the case for many small or solo lawyers out there, most of whom are very good at staying on top of shit. But if the attorney always seems rushed and there doesn’t appear to be any support staff around to help them out, maybe make a consideration as to whether or not they can give your case the attention that it needs. Also, if you’re not sure, ask the fucking lawyer about shit like file management and scheduling. Most jurisdictions consider the attorney case file to be the property of the client, and I personally wouldn’t mind explaining to clients my office’s policies and procedures for shit.
Their Desk Is Fucking Spotless.
Want to see something cool? This is a picture of Albert Einstein’s desk the day after he died. In fact, a messy desk can actually be an indicator of a mind that is too damn busy to be bothered with the minutia of cleaning. And lawyer desks are fuckin’ famously messy. Why? Well…we’re fucking busy, man. I may review 10 papers from 4 different cases in the course of a day, and each of them go into a pile to be filed later in the day, or later in the week. My open files all sit on the left hand side of my desk, which now comprises of two stacks each roughly a foot tall. I need them there, and many lawyers are the same damn way.
Our desk is like a painter’s fucking studio, and while television shows like to present the lawyer desk as being large, impressive, and clear of debris, ain’t no practicing attorney got time for that shit. If your lawyer’s desk is consistently clear, I personally would begin to worry about that shit. The desk of a good lawyer should look like the Library of Congress just had diarrhea all over it.
Sidenote: There are fucking limits. If a lawyer has a messy desk but it isn’t an organized mess, where the lawyer knows exactly where everything that’s come onto it is and can find it in less than a minute, the desk is not a sign of a great mind. It is a malpractice claim waiting to fucking happen. Like all forms of clutter, organized disorganization should be the rule when it comes to lawyer desks.
You Just Don’t Like Them.
This is probably the biggest one for me. The attorney-client relationship is one of trust and communication, as I’ve repeatedly indicated when I’ve bluntly told you assholes to stop lying to your fucking lawyers. However, that’s a two-way street, and it means that while you don’t have to be your lawyer’s best friend, or even necessarily ever want to associate with them outside of the office (and trust me, assholes, the feeling is mutual), you should at least feel comfortable working with them. If you don’t, that’s not the lawyer for you, no matter how highly they were recommended by your partner’s Uncle Ricky who had that “thing.” In fact, next week I’m going to write a post for lawyers about dealing with clashing personalities with your clients (Look ma, my creative process at work!).
The simple fact is, if you don’t feel like you can comfortably work with an attorney after meeting with them, it’s time to move to the next one on the list. If there’s no trust and communication, there’s just no way the lawyer can be an effective advocate and counselor for you.
Alright, there you little shits go, five ways to judge the lawyer you want to handle. This week is Furry Friday, where, as convention season is apparently upon us, I’ll be discussing the legal rights and obligations inherent in using a hotel room to host a fucking nightclub of fursuiters. I’ll see you chucklefucks then.