“Can You Stiff Your Divorce Lawyer?” Answer: What the hell man?

Portia Porter, Esq. is a terrible writer.  Her book, Can You Stiff Your Divorce Lawyer? is likewise terrible.  It is a long, ponderous read of little value.  In attempts to be amusing, Ms. Porter comes off less like an experienced attorney and more like the kid on the playground trying to make people like her.  Both her talent as an author, and her expertise as a legal advocate, is called into question by this meandering, inaccurate, and frankly quite silly book.

Besides, I have it on good authority that she’s actually a supporter of several racially divisive groups, enjoys eating kittens with her morning coffee, and secretly supports terrorist armies in her spare time.  All in all, buying her book will almost certainly help fund the downfall of humanity and the destruction of our very nation.

…Ok, are the prospective clients gone?  Good, Good.

Guys, we gotta do something about this Porter lady, because that motherfucker is giving away the whole fucking game.

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The Grinch Returns

So Christmas is over.  This is a bad thing for people that deal with me.

Around the holidays I become a nicer person.  I genuinely love the holidays and have long-believed they’re a time when we’re just a teensy bit better to the people around us.  For me, that means I get friendlier with opposing counsel and clients as we come up to Christmas.  I smile more, I’m more likely to grant an extension of time to respond to something, I don’t harp on the bill being unpaid as much as I normally do.  All in all, I’m Kris-fucking-Kringle of the local legal community as we build up into the holiday season.

But Christmas is over now, and I’m back in the office, and I’m in a foul mood because there are no more Christmas cookies or carols.  It’s a rainy, wet, cold Tuesday morning in my corner of the world, and my heart has shrunk three sizes back to its normal, withered, blackened state.

It’s time for people who have become acquainted with my only since December 1st on to realize how much of an unforgiving prick I am.

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Bonuses, How Do They Work?

I’m revisiting the hell out of old posts this week.  Not too long ago I posted about how Above the Law had an article detailing the horrendous burden of BigLaw associates possibly not getting the bonuses they expected.  In the article it was touted as an example of all that was wrong with the world, the fact that these poor, beleaguered first-year associates may see a reduction in their discretionary compensation that they are awarded in addition to a six-figure salary and benefits.  The world stood still, and people wept for them.

Actually, I’m pretty sure I just poo-poo’d the whole idea of this being a tragedy of some sort, because the vast amount of attorneys in the world aren’t in BigLaw and therefore have no expectation of receiving a bonus that’s pegged in any way to the Cravath Scale.  The Cravath Scale, by the way, is the salary and bonus scale paid by Cravath Swaine & Moore, LLP, a two hundred year old white shoe firm that is considered the industry standard for BigLaw compensation.  Let me point out that looking at the listing of law schools that Cravath attorneys hail from, very few of them are “for profit” law schools that exist outside outside of the top ranked schools in the country, and there are a number of foreign law schools on there.

The short read on this is for the vast majority of attorneys out there this holiday season, what Cravath does or doesn’t do won’t apply to you.  You are not BigLaw.  Your firm is not bringing in Cravath level money.  You do not work the same number of hours at the same billable rate and in the same markets as Cravath associates.  The Cravath Scale will have no effect on you, and is not a good benchmark for what you should expect bonus wise.

Hell, there’s a chance you shouldn’t expect a bonus at all, you lout.

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Stop Oversharing: Clients Aren’t Your Bros

Alright, so let’s face the hard truth that in an over-saturated legal market there are plenty of lawyers out there who are willing to take on any case.  Let’s go even further and say that there are lawyers out there who are breaking the cardinal rules set at our monthly ritualistic sacrifice of an alleged tortfeasor (afterwards we have cocktails and network) by charging well under the basement-fees for our regions.  Let’s  just accept, in general, that to some extent a lawyer who has succeeded in getting a client on the hook by getting them in the door still needs to reel that client in and get them to sign the engagement letter.

Have you bought a car recently?  I sold those suckers for a bit, so I know a little bit about how it works.  When you bought the car did you notice the salesman had a picture of a kid on his desk?  Not necessarily his kid, but a kid, and you sure as hell assumed it was his kid, right?  How about the Bible sitting on the corner of the desk?  Everytime you had a story or comment about something that happened to you or a concern, the salesman had a story related to it about how he knows exactly what you mean because he’d been through the same thing, or knew someone who had.  You know that shit was all meant to make you feel close to him so he could stick your ass in the seat of a new-to-you, perfectly-functional-except-for-the-A/C 1997 Toyota Camry with low, low mileage of only 165,000 miles (they just don’t make engines that last that long anymore, I tell you what).  It’s a scheme, a way to ingratiate yourself to the buyer to make them feel a bond with you.

Lawyers are guilty of the same thing.

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I Charge for Consults: My Hatred for the Free Consultation

The other day in a super-secret lawyer chat room, I announced that I engage in a very specific perversion among lawyers.  I admitted to charging for consultations.

In the words of one attorney in the chat, charging for consultations draws clients in just as well as “having a man with a machine gun outside my door taking shots at prospective clients.”  Fair play on him for painting a vivid mental picture.  Now let me explain why I think he’s wrong.

But first, a story:

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