Ahh yes, client communication. Some law firms go above and beyond to ensure their clients know what’s happening with their cases, others barely speak to them before their court date. Some firms actually know what msip stand for, others just think it’s a typo. There certain bad habits that all lawyers get into with some being worse than others.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the coffee is somewhat tolerable, and the “new messages” light on my phone is winking it’s red eye at me as I settle in for the week to begin. And, of course, as the very responsible attorney that sits and writes Lawyers & Liquor, a guiding resource for barely capable mouth breathers and the figurative (and sometimes literal) bed wetting baby lawyers of the legal sphere, I know that those messages must be handled in the correct manner:
Saved for thirty days if the client isn’t in years and panicking and waiting for them to call again, because as every good lawyer will tell you it’s only important if the client calls at least two times.
But you really shouldn’t be doing that, and I think you all know that. First, it’s a damn good way to make sure you spend an entire day in the office doing absolutely nothing except listening to voice mails and making papier mache heads out of those little “while you were out” slips. Second, it’s a damn good way to lose a ton of business in a really goddamn quick manner. Trust me, I should know, because I’ve been there myself more than once in my career.
You should always be on top of your contacts and communications, which is why a lot of lawyers are looking at getting a sharepoint calendar to manage that sort of thing. Clients like someone who remembers what they’ve talked about, when, and where. Best of all it can improves the likelihood of them recommending another client your way. I wish I knew that from the get-go.
Continue reading ““Why Don’t He Write?” – Thoughts on Good Client Communication”
Welcome back to another bright and sunny day here on Lawyers & Liquor, where the coffee is as black as my twisted heart and the stress is as overbearing as your mother asking when you’re going to settle down and find a nice boy or girl to share the joy of your life with. I’m the matzo-loving litigator, the Boozy Barrister, and today we’re going to continue our discussion of all the things that have to happen after you pass the bar exam. That’s right, we have another day of celebrating the professional celibacy, or, if you’re caught up in the character and fitness portion of this whole mess, legal cuckolding that is the newly admitted baby lawyer. Be you the recent admission with the ink still drying on your license or the gritty old attorney slowly aging into irrelevance, we here at Lawyers & Liquor believe that you, too, deserve to be roundly lambasted and lectured about the poor life decisions you, personally, have made to lead you to this point.
You may recall that last time we discussed the simple fact that even with the board of bar examiners saying you are minimally competent to practice law on the basis of a few essay questions and filling in the right bubbles here and there, that doesn’t make you an attorney until you’re actually admittedto the practice of law. And, as we talked then, the admission to the practice of law is more than a mere formality, because it involved shit like the Character and Fitness examiners digging deep into your sordid little past of keg stands, requiring you to supplement anything their darkened little souls require. It’s a form of legal confession, except you don’t just think the person hearing your confession may be jerking off, you know they probably are, and there’s no penance for the past in the majority of cases. But whilst you wait for the cabal of legalistic proctologists of the profession to finish snapping on their rubber gloves and just getting elbow deep all up in your shit, there’s something else you can start considering on the assumption that everything will turn out okay, and that’s when are you going to take your oath and become a lawyer.
Because lawyers? We not only fucking swear, we are sworn as well.
Continue reading “Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath”
Welcome to another session of the profane legal ramblings that appear on this site, which we have politely named Lawyers & Liquor. I’m your host with the half cup of coffee and the stained suit, the Boozy Barrister, here to curse the day that I decided a scholarship offer from a law school was a good idea.
There are a lot of useful legal services available online for both legal firms and consumers to use. For example, the solutions available at remotelegal.com can help progress court proceedings online. However, there are also resources that aren’t at all useful. Avvo is one of these.
So the big news, or rather the not so big news, in the legal world this week is the shutdown of Avvo’s fixed price legal services platform. You may remember Avvo if you’re a regular reader as the high-pressure sales environment that puts on its slimy car salesman suit to harass the hell out of any lawyer stupid enough to claim their profile on the site.
Well, imagine if the guy that was showing you your own car and then calling you twenty times a day to see if you wanted it painted decided to move on from that and then offer a service where other people could drive your damn car at a certain price that they decide, not you! That was essentially Avvo’s fixed price legal fee service, and like all bad ideas it was destined to either go down in flames or get elected President. Luckily, in this specific situation, it was the former.
So let’s spend a little time today providing erotic elucidation (because anything that negatively impacts Chris who calls my office to get me to buy ad space certainly gives me a half-chub at the very least) on what Avvo was offering and why it was shut down faster than a nerdy kid gets shut down by the head cheerleader. Break out the marching band and let’s move on ye of little experience as we discuss why a lawyer advertising service somehow decided that exempted it from impermissible fee sharing agreements in today’s Lawyers & Liquor.
Continue reading “Avoo Maria, Part 1: Talking About The Avvo Legal Services Shutdown”
Hey hey, it’s Wednesday here on Lawyers and Liquor and that means…what exactly does that mean anymore? I don’t know guys, I’m ankle deep in a ton of litigation stuff right now, and as I swim through the sea of stupid that is email and text message review in discovery, I find myself drifting back to a happier time. A nicer time. A more genteel era. I am, of course, talking about the time when your clients paid their damn bills in full and on time.
Alright, so, a little background here. My office, when I came into it, did not accept payment in any manner except check or cash. Now, because I have a bad tendency of representing people, and because people aren’t exactly known for their tendency to carry around thousands of dollars in cash, this meant the majority of my clients paid with a check. I know, there’s a younger generation of people out there going “What is a check? I just figured out those squares with the faces of dead guys on them last year, now you’re telling me there’s some other way of old-timey paying for goods and services?” Here’s the explanation: A check is like a paper version of a debit card that takes three-five days to hit your bank account. Of course, you have to make sure all the details are filled out correctly, deal with the Publix check cashing fee, and even then, it may bounce…
You may be familiar with these if you’ve ever worked for someone that feels Direct Deposit is a tool of the devil or you have a grandmother that refuses to send cash through the postal service.
Continue reading “When the Check Goes *Boing* – Lawyers and Credit Cards”
Let’s start with the commonly accepted preposition that our clients are, by and large, incapable of finding their backsides with both hands, a map, and a native guide. Whether the client be the sweet little old lady from down the street or the meth dealer who’s been the scourge of the Shady Acres Mobile Home Community for the last three weeks before he fell behind on his rent, clients are collectively idiots without a single clue as to what’s in their best interests. It isn’t even their fault, really. As a society they’re trained to second guess people by television shows that teach them nice, and ultimately meaningless, phrases like “post hoc ergo propter hoc” that they can parrot back at the nice man or woman in the suit in front of them and make demands.
We live, ladies and gentlemen, in the Golden Age of Dipshittery, where any asshole with access to Google and a cable subscription can fancy themselves a lawyer. All hail King Dipshit, as he wanders into the office and proceeds to immediately second-guess the attorney. And, of course, because we learn the law from folks whose names are preceded by words like “Professor,” we of course have the vitriolic reaction of any learned professional when T-Bone tells us he totally thinks we should argue he was driving that ATV through the nunnery because aliens told him to: Sit down, shut up, I’m the goddamn lawyer.
And so, today and Wednesday, we’ll talk about the division of decision-making between an attorney and their client, i.e., who has control over what and when in an attorney-client relationship.
Continue reading “Who Drives the Bus, Part 1: McCoy v. Louisiana”