Guest Post: The Three Major Components of a Lawyer’s Job – Sam Castree a/k/a IndieGameLayer

[Today’s guest post is from Sam Castree, the Head of Entertainment Law at Crawford Intellectual Property Law out there in Barrington, IL…you know, the state you have to go through both Ohio and Indiana to get to from here.  Sam can be found on Twitter at @IndieGameLawyer, and has graciously agreed to provide me with a break.  Sit back and enjoy the…less profane…take on the job of a lawyer.  -Boozy].

Hello out there!  My name is Sam Castree.  I’m the head of Entertainment Law at Crawford Intellectual Property Law in Barrington, Illinois.  Today, I’m doing a guest post for the Boozy Barrister, which is clear proof that I’ve finally made it in the legal world.

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Too Good To Be True: Why You Shouldn’t Take That Big Case

Hey you little legal morons, all you solos and baby lawyers out there struggling to make ends meet.  Sure, the office may be cramped and filled with files, but you’re living the dream of a day-to-day small time lawyer.  Certainly you may be driving Uber to keep the lights on during the slow months, and your bank account may always be on the verge of being overdrawn, but that’s how this law thing is supposed to work, right? And at the end of the day you know that it’ll all be worth it if you can just land that one big case that’ll rake in the hours and the dough, bringing you from the edge of the red to firmly in the black and making it clear that you’re a real player in the legal game, right?

Wrong, dipshit.  Because as Captain Ahab learned, sometimes when you get that white whale you’ve been chasing it may turn right the fuck around and kill you.  Then some asshole writes a book about your horrible defeat at the hands of the big case and it opens with “Call me Justice Scalia” or some shit. I don’t know, I never read Moby Dick after I figured out it wasn’t fucking erotica or some shit.  But even without the strong analogy, the fact remains that one big case can sink your little law office faster than an Italian ferry loaded down with passengers.  The fucker’ll blow your finances up quicker than a Southwest jet engine. It’ll ruin your goddamn future.

So you probably shouldn’t take that big case.

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“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: Part 3 – My Contingent Fee and Me!

Welcome to Part 3 of talking about fees here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we endeavor to provide the best in profane prose about the legal profession to both the laity and those who are damn near laity, the baby lawyers and law students.  Over the past couple posts, prior to our brief break for a sojourn into the land of the furry animal people on Friday, I’ve been talking my way through lawyer fees and answering the age old questions of rapping clowns everywhere:  “How the fuck do they work?”

We started off recognizing that there’s really no system outside of the rapidly dwindling support of the government through the Legal Services Corporation for the poor and downtrodden to obtain legal representation in their civil matters.  We moved on to discuss the unmitigated evil that is the billable hour, and how it sucks both the souls of associated and the wallets of the clients they represent.  Now we’re going to move on to the third portion of our rather obvious discussion of the many different fee agreements out there, and the one that most people who call your office obviously want you to use: “We don’t pay unless you win!”  Or, as we know it professionally, the “Contingent Fee Agreement.”

And we’re gonna talk about why that still isn’t a good solution to the issue with there being massive underfunding in legal aid and isn’t really a good business model except for a few restricted areas of practice.

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“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: Lawyer Fee Arrangements, Part 2 – The Billable Hour

Welcome back to the Lawyers & Liquor discussion on fees!  So last time we talked about the historical difference between the American Rule and the English Rule, which is essentially the difference between you paying someone to kick you in the nuts and someone else paying to try to kick you in the nuts.  A brief summary of our last post is as follows:  In America, lawsuits require that you bear all of your own expenses, paying the lawyer out of your own pocket even if you win, with a rationale of “access to justice.”  However, the traditional rule on most Common-Law countries, and indeed in a lot of the world, is that the loser in a civil action will pay reasonable attorneys fees for the winning side, the idea being that it’s the losing side’s fault the matter was in court at all to begin with.

This isn’t a new thing.  America deviated, as we talked about, back in 1796 in a Supreme Court decision that found making the loser pay up may actually dissuade people from going to court and asserting meritorious claims and defenses because of the specter of the money-grubbing attorney in the background.  We also talked about how that decision is a remnant of a time when it was completely acceptable to pay your lawyer with a side of beef and a fresh coat of paint on his palatial farmhouse in the country.  America, it seems, never got the message that when a ham has less monetary value and doesn’t stretch as far, a refiguring of the way we award fees may be needed.

So what does this mean for you, the lawyer or layman in the good old U.S. of A who may want to make sure at some point they see a payment on a fucking bill or, in the case of the latter, may want to know what they’re getting into when they hire a lawyer?

It means we have a sort of complicated set of “ways to pay for shit” that clients can utilize.  Which we’re going to talk about today, starting with the Billable Hour.

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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.

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