I haven’t posted a war story in a while. I don’t even think I’ve told one in a bit, and that’s unusual. Lawyers are like veterans of one of those minor foreign skirmishes, we like to talk about our time spent locked in combat with other attorneys. Sometimes it’s because we’re fighting on the side of truth and justice. Other times, it’s because we’re trying to make the best of a bad situation.
Take Marcy (not the real name) for example. Marcy was an unemployment case. She had been let go from the medical facility she worked at for a litany of reasons, all of which she claimed were unjustified. Marcy had applied for unemployment, and, after her employer responded to the request, had been turned down for unemployment, being found to have been let go for cause. Marcy did not believe this was the case, and showed up in my office one day asking me to help her in front of the unemployment compensation referee’s hearing.
Marcy was one of those types of people you come to identify immediately. Too big sweatshirt with the name of some now-defunct night school “college” on it, stringy hair that had probably been within sniffing distance of a bottle of Pert Plus in the last month but you still weren’t too sure, sallow skinned with bags under her eyes. In fact, in later years I would be able to identify a “Marcy” immediately as an “ex-addict.” At that time, though, I was full of piss and vinegar and ready to believe my client.
This was the case with Marcy, who advised that someone from the employer would likely be present. Because of that, I wanted to make sure the case was in order, advising her to tell me everything and leave nothing out.
“Remember,” I would admonish her at the end of every meeting or phone call, “If there’s something you haven’t told me that’s related to this, I need to know about it now. If the first time I find out about it is at this hearing, we’re going to have a problem.”
“I know Mr. BoozyBarrister,” Marcy would answer, “I told you everything.”
Marcy was a lying sack of shit.