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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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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The Ethics of Parrotghazi: Be a Fucking Lawyer.

The next time I get the idea to toss my hat into the ring on a Twitter war like Parrotghazi, someone make sure to smack me firmly, yet somehow gently, in the crotch. Since the post went live yesterday, I’ve found myself quoted on People.com, retweeted God knows how many times, and somehow intimately involved in the sordid tale of how two lawyers have embroiled themselves in a war over custody of a tweet.

I’m glad people are enjoying reading about this, and excited they’re reading about it here, but Jesus Christ I now know more about parrots than I ever wanted to know. So let’s go in a different direction. Let’s look at the worst case scenario in Parrotghazi, and the legal stuff that has been brought into play in it.

I’m going to warn you before we start, I’ve already started drinking tonight.  But really, I want to be clear that everything that follows is completely speculative, and I’m only using Parrotghazi and Mr. Adler as an example of how a lawyer using social media can go horribly awry.  I’m not accusing Mr. Adler of a damn thing, it’s just the “what ifs” here allow for a fun exploration of ethics and social media for lawyers.  Mr. Adler has asserted he stands behind the originality of the tweet and the representation of this case, and he’s entitled to the benefit of the doubt on that.

If Mr. Adler wants to get his side out here, I’ll gladly post his version of events, unedited, to this blog.  Trust me, in this situation nothing would make me happier than to do a full retraction.  I don’t like talking about other lawyers.

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Parrot-Ghazi: The Twitter Saga 

[Updates at the end, including some prior tweets from Mr. Adler, a response from Mr. Dent, an explanation of the long odds, and an interview on this tweet Mr. Adler gave to the BBC]

So yesterday a marginally funny tweet showed up on the page of a lawyer from Philadelphia.  Since us attorneys are so well known for our sense of humor, it of course went viral.  A hearty chortle was had by all, and people went on with their daily lives.

So, Michael Adler is a Philly lawyer who, from his website, seems to specialize in business law.  This means nothing, because I can say my areas of practice are geared towards protecting the intellectual property of one-armed left-handed underwater basket weavers.  That doesn’t mean I won’t take a divorce if it walks through my door with cash in hand.  I certainly will.

I have to say, Mr. Adler’s tweet was pretty amusing, too.  I saw it last night and it gave me a brief smile, and I don’t smile.  Joviality hurts my blackened soul.  Apparently it was a slow news day as well, because the tweet even deserved a bit of a human interest story, getting a post on BillyPenn.com written about it.

Adler said disputes over dogs are relatively in common in divorces, but the parrot provided a new challenge… verbalization. In other words, they can talk. Therefore, they can talk shit.

So he spoke with other lawyers for advice this morning before coming up with “the idea of just agreeing not to say anything nasty in front of the parent.”

However, it appears one of those “other lawyers” may be @ParkerLawyer, who tweeted this back in September:

Those are…really similar.  Oh shiiiiiiit, we about to get all Cease & Desist up in here!

Before we continue, let me say:  I have no opinion on any of the people involved.  I don’t encourage anyone else to form one.  Reserve judgment until the facts are in.

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Getting What You Pay For: Free Time Billing Software and Ethics

Recently there was a post in a super-secret forum for lawyers asking about a free case management/time-billing software known as Praxis for Lawyers.  Always a cheapskate, I took a moment to go over there, sign up
for an account, and take a look around the software itself.  First, it appears to be truly free.  Second, it looks like it would be functional for a solo practitioner to bill time and keep track of his cases.  Third, it could end up getting someone in trouble with the ethics panel.

I probably should have led off with that third point, right?

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