The Will Power Of Attorneys (Not To Slap Stupid Clients)

, , , | Right | February 14, 2020

(I am a lawyer; I do a lot of wills and power of attorney executions. One day, I have a client who comes in to do a will and POA. She wants to know how much it will cost. I tell her that my hourly rate is $185 and, however long it takes, that’s how much I will charge for. Between meeting with her, responding to a bunch of emails from her, and actually preparing the will and POAs, I spend a little over two and a half hours. I decide to be nice and round that down to an even $450. She comes in and signs the will and pays her bill happily. The next day, I get a call from her. She is furious.)

Client: “I checked my watch; I only spent a total of fifteen minutes with you. You massively overcharged me! I shouldn’t have paid more than fifty bucks for this.”

Me: “[Client], do you think that a will just materializes the second you leave the office? It takes time to prepare documents. You don’t just get charged for the time you spend in my office — which, by the way, was more like an hour. I’m sorry the bill was more than you expected, but I was very clear with my pricing up front.”

Client: “But I only spent an hour on this!”

Me: “I know that, but you pay for my time, not yours.”

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Enlarging Your Client Base

, , , , , | Right | January 27, 2020

I work at a law office and part of my job is to screen potential new clients — PNC — to help our attorney decide if they have a case or not.

Today, this flashed on my screen from our online contact form.

“PNC requests a callback regarding car accident, and her insurance company is now refusing to cover the cost of a breast enlargement that her doctor stated was to help her balance after car accident caused spinal issues.”

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Looks Like She Just Discovered A New Legal Term!

, , , | Legal | November 9, 2019

(I work for a legal office. We are a small office and I am the only secretary here on this day. I get a phone call.)

Me: “[Law Office].”

Caller: “Yes, hi, I’d like to speak to an attorney. Are you an attorney?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I’m just a secretary. Our attorney is in court. Can I take a message?”

Caller: “No, I’d just like to speak to an attorney. Are you an attorney?”

Me: *internally screaming* “No, ma’am, I’m not. But may I take a message?”

Caller: “Yes, I want to see about suing someone for alienation of affection.”

Me: *pause* “Can you give me some more information, ma’am?”

Caller: “Yes, my husband cheated with a floozie in [Town] and I want to talk to someone about alienation of affection!”

Me: “Ma’am, are you wanting to get a divorce?”

Caller: “Oh, no, we’ve been divorced for two and a half years… but I found out that before we got divorced, he was cheating on me with this woman from [Town], and now I want to sue her for alienation of affection!”

(I took her contact information for the message and hung up. As soon as the phone was disconnected, I had a hearty laugh for a minute. I’ve worked in the legal field for years and never heard the term “alienation of affection” before!)

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I’m Going To Use The Law To Sue You For Not Using The Law!

, , , , | Right | October 25, 2019

(I work at a small law office that does disability claims. My main job is answering the phone and directing calls, or answering questions as needed. This call is one I’ve never dealt with before and still leaves me laughing weeks later.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Law Office]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I got hit!”

Me: “Are you okay? Have you contacted 911?”

Caller: “No! This happened last week. I got hit by some a** b*****d who was too busy swerving around the road, and he knocked my car off the road! I want to sue him!” 

Me: “I see. I’m sorry that happened, ma’am, but we only do disability law.”

Caller: “See, he wasn’t paying attention. He told the cops he was swerving around someone else, and he hit me. My neck and back hurts now. I had to go to the emergency room, and my car got dented. They’re going to have to take off the whole right side.”

Me: “Again, I’m sorry to hear that, but–“

Caller: “He knocked me right off the road. Can you believe that? Said that I was in his blind side. I want to sue him; he needs to pay my medical bills, d*** it.”

Me: “Okay, we can’t help you, but I can give you a number to the state bar referral.”

Caller: “What?”

Me: “We only do disability law. We can’t help. But I can give you a numb–“

Caller: “Why can’t you help me? I’m in my rights to sue if I want to! He hit me!”

Me: “Because we only do dis–“

Caller: “I’m going to sue you! You’re refusing to help me! I’m calling the newspapers and letting them know about you and your office, b****! F*** you!”

(We have yet to hear anything.)

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The Law Applies To Everyone Except Me

, , | Legal | October 18, 2019

(I work as a legal assistant for a small civil litigation firm while in law school. Part of my job is to help clients answer “interrogatories,” i.e. official questions submitted by opposing counsel aimed at gathering potential evidence. Many of these questions can be quite complicated, but there are plenty of simple ones such as, “Please provide your previous addresses,” or, “Have you ever been a party to a lawsuit before?” In general, we forward the entire question list with instructions to the client to answer what they can and then return the list. I then revise their answers to what is legally relevant to the case, put in objections, and help with the remaining questions. These instructions also say, in big, bold letters in extra-large type, “YOU ARE LEGALLY OBLIGATED UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY.” More often than not, the list is returned almost entirely blank, leading to exchanges such as these. An exchange from a landlord/tenant dispute:)

Me: “So, you’ve never lived anywhere else?”

Client #1: “Nope.”

Me: “But you’ve changed your address with us twice.”

Client #1: “Oh, well, then, put those in.”

Me: “Okay, I can do that. Do you have any addresses from before we started working on your case?”

Client #1: “Well, yeah, but I don’t remember them.”

Me: “Do you have any records that you can consult? Past bills, maybe?”

Client #1: “I guess. That’s a lot of work to go through them, though. Can’t I just not answer that one?”

Me: “No. No, you cannot.”

(Another exchange:)

Me: “I see your medical provider information is left blank. We need to fill this in.”

Client #2: “No.”

Me: “No?”

Client #2: “I don’t want them talking to my doctor. That’s not their business. Why are they asking for that?”

Me: “You’re claiming you were injured. They have to know who treated you so that they can get medical records related to the injury, because that is potentially evidence.”

Client #2: “What do you mean, my medical records are evidence?!”

(Another common exchange:)

Me: “This says you’ve never been involved in any other lawsuits. As I recall, you had a divorce a couple of years back, right?”

Client #3: “Oh, yeah. It was a huge mess. It took ages for our lawyers to iron that out. The judge got tired of hearing from us!” *laughs*

Me: “Okay, that counts as a lawsuit, so we’re going to need the information for that.”

Client #3: “Wait, that counts?”

(Yet another exchange:)

Me: *discussing a form with all of her information clearly filled in* “Why didn’t you sign the form we sent you?”

Client #4: “I didn’t think that applied to me.”

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