Walking the Line: Keeping My Soul.

Certainly, when I was a boy, people liked to believe that lawyers were kind of pillars of goodness of the likes of Atticus Finch in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’

-Scott Turow

Today I found out a client died over the weekend.  I was at his house about two weeks ago to do a will signing.  He had just gotten out of the hospital, but seemed pretty healthy.  This morning, as soon as the office opened, the phone rang.  It was his wife, telling me he died.

Because I’m not a monster, I immediately expressed my condolences.  Once we got off the phone, I checked the fire safe, making sure his will was in it.  Seeing it there, and seeing it was the original he gave us for safekeeping, I breathed a sigh of relief.

If we had the will, chances were the widow would use us for the estate.  But that meant I’d probably have to go to the funeral Wednesday, which…well, to be frank, I got other shit to do.

I’m a monster.

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Overruled on the Grounds of Idiocy

Yesterday I was reviewing some court transcripts.  It’s a complicated matter, but only because of the background surrounding it, which involves approximately 19 civil lawsuits over the course of twenty years in state court, a couple bankruptcies, a federal case, a RICO claim, an airport, and a riding lawnmower being used as proof of official misconduct.  I came across this matter in reviewing things for another case, and it grabbed my attention.  I spent the weekend going through the information and case files, gripped by decades of litigation and backbiting in a small town.

One part of it stood out to me though, and it’s a perfect example of how even a minor detail can really fuck us over in this profession.  First year law students, practicing attorneys, and everyone else, sit the fuck up, turn off Spotify, stop texting, and pay attention:  Check your local rules and make sure your documents comply.  In looking through this whole case, the one thing that made me take notice was, if the motion had been properly noticed, the last 12 years of litigation would have been completely unnecessary.

The whole matter would have been resolved with one hearing, one check, and one payment.

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Don’t Take The Case: Problem Client Identification

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.

Like running drugs for a cartel.

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