If The Dishes Pile Up, Your Inheritance Doesn’t

, , , , | Legal | April 8, 2019

(I’m updating my will by phone.)

Me: “Basically, I’d just like to split everything evenly between my three children.”

Legal Person: “Oh, it needs to be split into percentages.”

Me: “Well, 33 percent each, then.”

Legal Person: “No, it needs to add up to 100. One of them needs to get 34 percent.”

Me: “Wait. You’re asking me to pick a favourite.”

Legal Person: “Well, which one does the most washing up?”

Please Recycle The Law

, , , , , , | Working | February 8, 2019

It was the mid-1990s and our law office was transitioning from research in books to computer research. With law books now available on CDs, we could free up our office library for useful office space. We went through a room full of books and decided which few books the attorneys wanted to keep and identified the remainder to be recycled. After ascertaining that there were no schools or anyone else who wanted them, we stacked them in a corner and asked the cleaning crew to remove them with the other paper recycling. We understood that it was a big job, which we didn’t expect them to accomplish in one night, but we thought if they would take even just a few books out with them each night, we would eventually have the office space free.

After the first night or two, a few books disappeared, but the rest of the large pile remained there day after day, in spite of the “recycle” tag that reminded the cleaning crew to remove them. After a couple of weeks had gone by and the large pile of books was still there, I added a second note alongside the “recycle” sign. It read, “Please remove these books or we’ll make you read them.” Every book was gone the next morning.

Can’t Help Those Who Cannot Help Themselves

, , , , , | Legal Right | January 30, 2019

(My department deals with taking the details of potential new clients, which we then take to a partner of the firm to decide if we’d like to take their claim on or not. We work mostly on the phone.)

Me: “Hello, [Solicitors], [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Can I make a claim?”

Me: “That’s certainly possible. Can I take some details from you?”

Caller: “Why would I do that? Just tell me if I can make a claim!”

Me: “I will need to take a few details about what has happened, and some contact details from you; then, I can speak with a partner of the firm to see if we can assist you with a claim.”

Caller: “I’ve had an accident; I just want to know if I can get compensation!”

Me: “What kind of accident have you had?”

Caller: “One that wasn’t my fault.”

Me: “Okay, was it a car accident, or a trip on paving, or an accident at work?”

Caller: “I told you, it was an accident that wasn’t my fault. Why are you wasting my time? Just speak to your boss and see if I can make a claim!”

Me: “I need a bit more information before we know if we can help you. I can speak to a partner, but they will ask me to get more information before we can make a decision.”

Caller: “Fine, it was a car accident.”

Me: “Thank you. Were you driving, or were you a passenger?”

Caller: “Why does that matter? I already told you it was a car accident and it wasn’t my fault.”

Me: “Can you talk me through what happened?”

Caller: “No. I don’t have time to give you the full information. Just talk to your boss and tell me if I can claim. I don’t know why you need so much information from me. I already told you I had an accident and that it wasn’t my fault. How hard is it to see if I have a claim?”

Me: “When did the accident happen?”

Caller: “A couple of years ago, I think.”

Me: “Okay, can you narrow it down a bit, to a month or a season?”

Caller: “No! I told you, it was a couple of years ago.”

Me: *seeing I’m not going to get much more information* “Can I take a few personal details? Can I take your full name and address?”

Caller: “You can have my first name, but no address.” *gives name*

Me: *sees they’re calling in on a withheld number* “Can I also take a contact number to call you on?”

Caller: “No. I don’t want cold calls.”

Me: “All the information we take from you is confidential, and we don’t pass people’s details on to anyone else. I also need the number to call you back once I’ve spoken to the partner.”

Caller: “You mean you can’t just put me on hold and ask the partner now? This is ridiculous; you’re wasting my time! I just wanted to know if I have a claim, and you’re making me give you all this information I don’t want to!”

Me: “I’m sorry to you feel that way, but yes, I would need to call you back later in the day, as we have set times to have meetings with the partners.”

Caller: “I don’t care; I want to know now if I can make a claim! Either ask them now, or I’ll take my business elsewhere!”

Me: “I’ll just pop you on hold and see if I can get in touch with a partner now.”

(I place the call on hold, and try to get in touch with a partner, but they’re all busy or out of the office, so I go back to the caller.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but all of the partners are busy at the moment, I—“

Caller: “This is f****** stupid. F*** you for not helping me.” *hangs up*

You Will Not Receive Our Assistants

, , | Legal | January 8, 2019

(I am one of two attorneys for a small law firm. There aren’t very many employees that work at the office and thus if even one of them is out sick we have to pick up slack to help each other out. On this particular day, three of them are out of the office, so I am helping by answering the phone.)

Caller: “Is [Other Attorney] available?”

Me: “I’m sorry, he’s left for the day. Can I take a message?”

Caller: “Tell him [Caller] called and I need him to return my call. Think you can handle that?”

Me: “Uh, yes, sir, I am pretty sure I can handle that.”

Caller: “Are you sure? I know assistants are always screwing s*** up. I should know; my assistants f*** up all the time.”

Me: “Sir, are you one of our clients already?”

Caller: “Nope.”

Me: “Well, I hate to break it to you, but I am an attorney here, and you won’t ever be a client.”

(I hung up. I don’t want clients who treat my staff poorly like that, so I don’t care if we lost business. It sucks to see people not get stood up for on this site, so hopefully this is a win for those who need it!)

No Litigation Hesitation

, , , , , , | Legal | October 23, 2018

I am a very experienced, expensive lawyer who has worked in the area of family law for over nineteen years. I am well known in my field, and have acted for people in expensive, protracted disputes.

I say this because the capacity of some clients to think that for “reasons” they know more about family law than I never ceases to amaze me.

My favourite was when a client was determined to take a course of action (involving the commencement of litigation rather than trying to resolve matters by way of a negotiation) which I had no doubt would cost him more in legal costs and result in a less favourable outcome.

Because I’m not an idiot, I advised him against his preferred course of action clearly, and confirmed my advice by way of letter, which he countersigned.

About a year later, the client had spent maybe $30,000.00 more in legal costs than he should have, and received the same, if not worse, outcome than would have occurred in a negotiated outcome.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, he was furious with me, although he knew that my advice had been clear and, because he’d countersigned the letter, he couldn’t deny receiving it.

I asked what on earth I had done wrong. His response will live with me until my dying day:

“YOU SHOULD HAVE WORKED HARDER TO CONVINCE ME.”

Sometimes… I just can’t.

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