What do the Magazines in Your Office Say About You?

Welcome to Wednesday here on Lawyers and Liquor, where we’re desperately clinging to relevance in an age where attorneys who are on Twitter spend hours on end correcting the lay understanding of the attorney-client privilege.  You know, there’s been a lot of legal news since the last time I had a chance to sit down and write something for you guys, hasn’t there? Holy. Shit.

I mean, Trump’s lawyer’s office got raided by the FBI, Sean Hannity was revealed in court to be a client of the same attorney (who the fuck only has three clients, all of them prominent members of the GOP? And why weren’t we aware that three prominent members of the GOP are so dipshit-stupid that they all use the same lawyer from motherfucking Cooley for their legally questionable issues?), and Bill Cosby is being retried for rape.  Oh, you weren’t aware of the last one? Doesn’t surprise me.  In the world of Trump, the celebrity rapist is the lucky one.

So, of course, in this trying time let’s talk about something vitally important to the practice of law.  This is something that’s sank many a law office before it even got the chance to start and has a great impact on every client who walks in the door.  For many small attorneys, the subject of today’s post is how your clients are going to form their first impressions of you as not only an attorney, but as a person as well.  I’m talking, of course, about the magazines and reading material that you keep in your waiting room.

Sure, it may not seem important, but the fact is the high-brow literature you provide to your clients as they wait for you to finish scrolling through Facebook and drink your coffee so you can give the impression of being far too busy to meet with them immediately is important.  I mean, many lawyers bring these magazines from their homes or other places they frequent, so what reading material is in your office is a reflection of your personality and therefore an indicator of how your clients will get along with you.  It can make or break a relationship!  This is serious business folks!

So, without further adieu, let’s talk about what different magazines say about you.

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“The No-Bill Profession” – Legal Aid and Pro Bono

You know what’s nice? Knowing that the practice of law is a profession that places as its benchmark the pursuit of justice and higher school of thought.  We all go into law school thinking that we’re going to change the world through our practice of the law, and some dolent professor with an Ivy League pedigree extols the virtues of the “Noble Savage” that the lawyer is supposed to be.  We are told, in every class, that the law exists to bring justice and that the role of an attorney is a counselor and advocate for the cause of the downtrodden client.  We are, in the words of the administrators and professors, the gatekeepers of justice, the first line of defense against tyranny, and the vindicators of the downtrodden.

And, of course, we then step out into the real world of practice and become made aware of the fact that all that esoteric bullshit and idealism doesn’t make the student loan payment of the rent.  Nobody’s ringing up their landlord and saying “Hey, I stopped a family of five from being evicted today!  They paid me in a big bag of pork rinds!  Will you accept pork rinds in lieu of rent now?”  If your landlord or utility company would ever stop laughing, what they’d choke out is “No, dipshit.”  Idealism doesn’t pay any of the bills.  “Good feels” doesn’t put food on the table.  Advocacy won’t buy avocado toast.

For that, you need money.  And to make money, you have to let go of the concept that you are anything more than a cutthroat mercenary of the legal world.  Because motherfuckers may need justice, but motherfuckers gotta pay to get it.  And yes, there are lawyers out there who provide representation to those people that need it without regard to their ability to pay, and they do some great goddamn work in doing so.  But, and here’s the thing:

They may not be there for much longer, and society has no viable safety net ready and raring to go for those folks.

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The Rom Baro and Me: Be Good to Your Clients

You know the cool thing about my job? I get to know people. I get to know people pretty damn well. Look, when you’ve sat in my conference room crying because your vindictive ex is low-key blackmailing you with pictures of you in frilly pink panties and an oversized lollipop (not that there’s anything wrong with that shit), we have a bond. That burly biker or truck driver who, to the rest of the world is a real man’s man, can feel cool to break down in front of their lawyer because they know that I can’t say shit, and because they know that my job is to help them. It’s neat to get to know my clients on a level that they only reveal to their priest and their bartender.

This means that for a lot of my clients who are actual people,  they view me as some strange mixture between legal counsel and a damn good friend, and it isn’t uncommon for my clients to just drop by or call to see how I’m doing.  Be it the retired NYPD detective who called my house (despite not ever having been given my home number) while I was laid up to see if he could swing by and do anything,  the older couple that I helped two years ago who came by my hospital room with a huge homecooked meal for my family, or, my personal favorite, the Gypsy King and his wife who not only bring me chocolate and little treats randomly, but send a hell of a lot of business my way.

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Injuries Suck: Explaining My Absence

So, I figure I owe you guys an explanation.

Back on December 11th I was in a car accident. It was a bit of a doozy, and but nobody important was hurt.

By “nobody important was hurt,” I of course mean I broke my hip but everyone else involved was fine.

As a result, I spent the remainder of December laid up on my couch unable to move or really think straight. It’s been a fun and happy holiday season, that’s for sure. I was out of the office, out of connection with reality, and out of drive to get the site updated, update the Patreon, or any of the dozen other things I need to be doing.

Yesterday I triumphantly returned to the office by hobbling in the door and staring blankly at my computer screen for a while. It’s still painful, but I’m back to it, and will be catching the blog, Patreon, and everything else up over the next seven days.

I want to thank all the readers out there who sent me well wishes and messages, and also the other lawyers out there who, particularly the guys in LawyerSmack who sent a gift basket to my office which my staff promptly ate.

I also want to thank my office staff who ran me case files to the house and put up with my constant phone calls to make sure the things they did without any prompting, like finding coverage for me, were done.

I’m hoping to be back to 100% soon enough, and will be back tomorrow to get some of the missed posts up and rolling for everyone.

Thank you,

-BB

No Justice: The Status of Transgender Anti-Discrimination In The United States

We’re gonna do Fetish Friday tomorrow this week, on Saturday. The reason’s real simple: I found a topic I wanted to write about that concerns some stuff that doesn’t fit the “Fetish” theme (Note: I also heard you guys on the polygamy thing, and the second part of that will not be on a Fetish Friday either. I’ll post that separately). It’s somewhat timely given a bit of shit that blew up in the Twitter-sphere, and the lovely post that came in on Wednesday from Ms. Tanner, who wrote about the harm that jokes can do to members of marginalized groups.

Today I’m going to talk about some basic legal matters and legislation that affect the transgender community. I think pretty much all transgender folks are aware of this stuff, and it’s really, really basic, but other people (including myself) don’t seem to be aware of the level of discrimination a transgender person can face, and how throughout the vast majority of this country it’s completely legal for a transgender person to be denied service, housing, or employment simply for being themselves. So, today, I’m gonna take a minute and piggy-back on Ms. Tanner’s explanation of why a joke isn’t a joke to explain why people have a right to be upset when they feel they’re being lessened to a cheap punchline. It’s because, quite frankly, we already treat them as less deserving than everyone else under law.

A couple quick caveats:

No jokes (well, maybe a couple jokes, just not at the expense of anyone), just some talk.

I’ll be frank: I have transgender friends, and I was tangentially aware of most of this before looking into things for this post, but I don’t think the unfairness of this ever hit me fully until I started on the drafts of this. I’m learning, please be a bit patient with me.

Finally, today is an introduction to these issues and a bomber’s-sight overview. It isn’t comprehensive and certainly does not address all of the issues. I’ll continue educating myself on some of these topics and digging into other matters, such as identification, estate/death matters, marriage, etc. I simply am not able to cover all of this in a single post. You should take this as a warning as to how much there is to talk about in regards to the current state of law as it relates to transgender persons: there are a lot of issues.

So, let’s get to it.

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