I got to thinking yesterday about problem clients.
Maybe it was just on my mind, maybe it was the client who sent a four page diatribe about the status of their cases with me, maybe it was the fact that we were out of coffee that morning and I couldn’t find my cigarettes. Whatever the case may be, I found myself mid-morning with my head in my hands as I furiously chewed on pen caps and muttered things about fleeing to Mexico and joining a less stressful and more profitable profession.
This tweet is like an old white man turning his hat backwards when his van gets lost in East St. Louis, looking at his passengers, and saying “I got this my homies”:
It doesn’t instill confidence the poster knows what the hell they’re talking about, and you’re pretty sure someone’s getting stabbed before the whole thing’s over with.
Wait the author of this article is Dr. Glenn Kuper? Well. I take back everything I said.
Leaving aside the fact that jury consultation and “scientific jury selection” has very little, if any, empirical evidence that shows it to be more effective than the common sense and experience of a skilled trial attorney, the Tweet from Tsongas still rankles the hell out of me. Why?
The next time I get the idea to toss my hat into the ring on a Twitter war like Parrotghazi, someone make sure to smack me firmly, yet somehow gently, in the crotch. Since the post went live yesterday, I’ve found myself quoted on People.com, retweeted God knows how many times, and somehow intimately involved in the sordid tale of how two lawyers have embroiled themselves in a war over custody of a tweet.
I’m glad people are enjoying reading about this, and excited they’re reading about it here, but Jesus Christ I now know more about parrots than I ever wanted to know. So let’s go in a different direction. Let’s look at the worst case scenario in Parrotghazi, and the legal stuff that has been brought into play in it.
I’m going to warn you before we start, I’ve already started drinking tonight. But really, I want to be clear that everything that follows is completely speculative, and I’m only using Parrotghazi and Mr. Adler as an example of how a lawyer using social media can go horribly awry. I’m not accusing Mr. Adler of a damn thing, it’s just the “what ifs” here allow for a fun exploration of ethics and social media for lawyers. Mr. Adler has asserted he stands behind the originality of the tweet and the representation of this case, and he’s entitled to the benefit of the doubt on that.
If Mr. Adler wants to get his side out here, I’ll gladly post his version of events, unedited, to this blog. Trust me, in this situation nothing would make me happier than to do a full retraction. I don’t like talking about other lawyers.
There was a time when an attorney was a respected professional whose wisdom and advice was sought after by the members of the community. We were more than sharks in suits who went after the highest dollar amount, we were learned men of an honorable profession. Neighbors would come to our offices for not only legal advice, but life advice. Our opinions were held in high regard, and we were viewed as trusted mediators and advocates for our clients.
Abraham Lincoln once said the following about lawyers:
Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man. There will still be business enough.
First, WHAT THE HELL …Mr. President? “Discourage litigation” is the worst business advice ever! How on God’s green earth am I supposed to hit my billables if everyone is being reasonable about easily resolved legal issue?
Seriously, though, the very fact that quote exists tells you something about how lawyers used to be viewed. We weren’t “legal services providers,” we were the educated men who solved problems in a fair manner and ensured justice was carried out.
I’m going to let you in on a secret of modern legal practice: