Avoo Maria, Part 1: Talking About The Avvo Legal Services Shutdown

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.

So the big news, or rather the not so fucking 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 fuck 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 fucking 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 the fuck 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”

When the Check Goes *Boing* – Lawyers and Credit Cards

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 the fuck 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 bullshit 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.

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”

Who Drives The Bus, Part 2 – A Guide to Decision Making for Young Lawyers

On Monday we talked about the Supreme Court case of McCoy v. Louisiana, wherein an attorney decided that a perfectly reasonable trial strategy was to tell the jury that his client had definitely committed murder in an attempt to avoid the death penalty.  The lawyer did this without the permission of his client, and in fact did it explicitly against his client’s wishes.  The client wanted the attorney to present a defense that he didn’t kill anyone, despite the state’s overwhelming evidence, and it brought to the highest court in the land the question of “Who really controls the representation.”

So we’re back today with Part 2, talking about who really gets to careen the bus of bad decisions off the freeway in glorious slow motion: the lawyer or the layperson who hires them. So, because I’m not gonna waste a lot of time or space today on building shit up, let’s just jump straight into this discussion.

Continue reading “Who Drives The Bus, Part 2 – A Guide to Decision Making for Young Lawyers”

Who Drives the Bus, Part 1: McCoy v. Louisiana

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”

Checking Your Privilege, Part 2: Attorneys and Clients Can Sorta Talk Openly

Alright folks, so the last time we did this shit it was discussing the concept of a “privilege” in an evidentiary setting. I ran through the basic concepts of what a privilege is, how it must be asserted, who holds the privilege, and the effect of a partial waiver of the privilege. The general idea to take away from all that is there are these things called privileges that allows you to bitchslap the other side when they start coming after that sweet, sweet information they so desperately want, be it during trial or in the hell that is discovery.

Today we’re gonna go a little more in depth and talk about the Attorney-Client Privilege, what it means, and how it is asserted, as well as how you, as the shitheel lawyer in charge of the case, can try to keep that shit from getting into the fucking record in the first place. But first, a war story.

Continue reading “Checking Your Privilege, Part 2: Attorneys and Clients Can Sorta Talk Openly”