What Do You Think Law School Is For?!

, , , , , | Legal | April 29, 2021

I’m a lawyer working at a law office. One day, a group of four people enters the office and sits on the couches in the waiting area. There are clear signs at the door that, because of the health crisis, all appointments must be reserved by email or phone before coming to the offices and that the number of people attending any meeting is limited to two.

A secretary goes to greet the customers and inquire about the purpose of their visit. After a while, she comes to my room.

Secretary: “They say they have an appointment here to close a long-negotiated issue, but I can’t find any appointments under their name. Could you please double-check with me?”

We look through our appointment system and all the lawyer’s calendars but can’t find anything with the name they provided. I go and talk to the customers to get more info. Their matter is in the field of law that we operate in, so I start to fear that we have messed something up. Their issue would require a lot of preliminary work and there is absolutely no way to make the documents here and now. I go and check all our systems again, but nothing comes up — no files, no billing information, nothing. I brace myself and go talk to the customers. I talk to a middle-aged woman who seems to be the most agitated.

Me: “I apologize, but there must be some kind of a mix-up. There are no records of your case in our files. Are you sure you are at the right law office?”

Woman: “Yes. Look, here is the text message invitation to the meeting.”

She shows me a text on her phone. It is the right time and our address.

Me: “Yes that is our address. Who is this [Man] who sent this message to you?”

Woman: “He is my cousin. He made the appointment with you and sent the time and place to the rest of us. He will be here any moment. [Man] knows how to handle things. [Man] will clear things up.”

We wait a few minutes and [Man] comes through the door.

Woman: “[Man]! Thank God! This lawyer says he can’t find any of our documents.”

Me: “Yes, sir, that is true. I’m sorry but there seems to be no record of your case in our system.”

Man: “Of course there isn’t. I looked at the pricing on your website and frankly, it is ridiculous. Your fees are way too high. It was a simple matter to draft the documents myself, so I did.”

He has a smug look on his face. I am totally confused.

Me: “So… why are you here now?”

Man: “We are here to make some minor changes, like the date and the names of the witnesses, to the documents, and then sign them. We require a room for an hour or two at most, a printer, and two of your lawyers to bear witness to our signatures.”

I am having a hard time believing what I’m hearing.

Me: “You didn’t contact us at all before coming in and inviting a bunch of your relatives to our office?”

Man: “No, why should I have? It will take you no more than five minutes to act as witnesses and according to the hourly fees on your website—”

I cut him off.

Me: “So, let me get this straight. You have some self-made legal documents. You expect us to just drop everything we are doing, give you a room and a printer, and sign our names and our company’s name to some random papers we’ve never seen?!”

Man: “Well, I …”

Me: “Firstly, I never sign any papers without thoroughly going through them, nor does any other lawyer that I know of. Secondly, most lawyers will never witness any documents that are made by a layman, as the lawyer’s signature at the end of the document gives most people the impression that the lawyer has made said documents. And thirdly, I don’t think there is a company on earth that will give the use of their rooms and office equipment to strangers who just barge into their office.”

Man: “This is your field of law and—”

Me: “I am completely amazed that anyone would think they can act this way. Please leave.”

The man started to argue but his relatives pushed him out, apologizing profusely. The secretary and I just stared at each other in disbelief.

I got a call maybe two weeks later from the woman customer and she apologized again. I told her it was no trouble and asked how their legal issue was doing. They had gotten a great lawyer, who looked through [Man]’s papers. After a week of correcting for [Man]’s mistakes, the documents were ready. They had signed them at the lawyer’s office, and that time, they had had an actual appointment. [Man] had been very quiet during the meeting.

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A Terrifying Kind Of Stupid

, , , , , | Legal | April 9, 2021

Working for a criminal defense attorney, I meet all kinds of people and hear all kinds of stories. Most of our clients are very nice people, in spite of the trouble they’re in. One, however, really stands out.

She was on at least her second or third DUI and just couldn’t understand why the police and the courts made such a big deal out of it. She insisted that “everyone” drinks and drives and she was sure I could not name a single person who had not done so.

But the clincher was when she told me that drinking and driving couldn’t possibly be illegal because, after all, bars have parking lots! I thought that was the punch line to a joke, but she was dead serious.

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Oh, Sister!

, , , , | Right | April 2, 2021

I have to close a real estate deal where my clients are three sisters who all live in different states. Two of the sisters are great to deal with; they’re prompt, intelligent, and courteous. The third, not so much.

I send a long email with, “Please read this email very carefully and follow all the instructions,” in big, bold letters at the top. The gist of the email is that each sister needs to print the documents I sent three times, get their ID notarized, and send everything to me. There are about fifteen documents in all.

The first and second sisters send me everything with no issues. The third sister sends me one document.

This means that she opened the file I sent, printed one of the pages at random, went to a notary and signed it, and sent it to me by courier.

I follow up and tells her that she needs to send me all of the documents, not just one, and her notarized ID.

A few days later, I get the package. She has signed all but two of the documents and her ID isn’t there at all.

On the third try, she finally manages to get me her ID and the remaining documents. 

We close the deal and I email the sisters, asking them to decide how they want the money divided and what accounts they want it deposited into so that I can draft a payment direct for them to sign.

The third sister immediately emails me her banking information.

I’m not convinced she can read.

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This Is Letterheading Nowhere

, , , , | Right | March 10, 2021

I work in the mailroom of a law office. As such, I cover for the receptionist when they take their lunch. A call comes through.

Me: “[Law Firm].”

Caller: “You have letterhead and I need to know what the nine digits at the bottom are.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not sure I understand. Is this about a case?”

Caller: “That’s irrelevant. We received correspondence from you and there are a set of nine numbers at the bottom. Just tell me what the numbers at the bottom are.”

I’m pretty sure they are connected to the document tracking system, but I’m not certain as I’m not the file clerk, I don’t read the documents I process because it’s not my business, and I would like to get some more information.

Me: “Sir, I do not have an example of what you’re referring to. Can you tell me what case this is in reference to and the att—”

Caller: “That doesn’t matter! There are nine numbers at the bottom, and I want to know what they are. Surely you know. You’re an attorney.”

Me: “No, sir, I am not an attorney. You have reached the front desk. If you—”

Caller: “You’re not an attorney?”

Me: “No, sir. If you—”

Caller: “But surely you handle the mail. What are these numbers? Take a look at one of the items and tell me what they are.”

Ha… yeah, I actually work in the mailroom, but he doesn’t know that.

Me: “Sir, the mail does not come through the front desk. If you—”

Caller: “Get me an attorney.”

Me: “If you could tell me who—”

Caller: “I need to know what these numbers are!”

Me: “Sir, please. If we sent this item to you, then who was it from so I can—”

I was going to say, “…connect you to that attorney,” but he won’t let me finish the sentence.

Caller: “Connect me to an attorney!”

Me: “Without knowing what this is in regards—”

Caller: “Connect me to corporate! I can’t believe this!”

Me: “Certainly, sir. Their number is [number].”

I could have transferred them to the main office, but I let him dial his own phone. Did he expect there to be idle attorneys just sitting around waiting for someone to call so they could answer their legal questions? I’m not randomly choosing one to interrupt, especially with his attitude.

All he had to do was tell me the attorney listed on the document and I would have been happy to connect him to their legal secretary to give a definitive answer.

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Time Is Money, And You Don’t Have Enough

, , , , | Legal | January 14, 2021

I am a paralegal, working in a small office where I also double as the receptionist, which means my work is often interrupted by phone calls. Multitasking and going back and forth between jobs isn’t a problem for me, but the “junk calls” are very annoying.

One phone solicitor calls on a regular basis. At first, I politely decline what they are selling — something about magazine subscriptions, not at all work-related — but they never really take “no” for an answer and keep calling back. Finally, in exasperation, I tell them that my boss bills my time out at $100 per hour with a one-hour minimum, and if they continue to waste my time, we will send them a bill and sue them for it if necessary. I think that will make them finally take us off the list and leave me alone.

Nope! A few weeks later, I get another call.

Me: “I’ve asked you repeatedly not to call here.”

Caller: “Oh, are you the one who said you’d sue us?”  

Me: “Are you kidding me? You have it in front of you that I have asked you not to call and threatened to sue and you’re still calling me!”

Fortunately, that was the last call from them.

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