In This Instance, Your Father Is Not The Law

, , , , , | | Working | May 29, 2019

I work as a sysadmin in a lawyer’s firm. There’s a department for civil law and a department for handling business law. I don’t know a thing about law; all I need to do is make sure no one has access to documents they don’t need.

I have set up a scheme of permissions to various folders and the owner has tested and approved it. Anyone working in the Business Law department has no access to files in the Civil Law folder and vice versa.

The son of the department manager of civil laws is having an internship for his IT training and his father thinks I can help him. I don’t think that this is a good idea given the confidentiality of the data on the servers, but I am overruled because the owner is okay with it – or at least that’s what I am told.

So, stuck with an intern, I try to put him to work installing PCs and laptops, but the boy isn’t really interested in working. He sits and plays with his phone until it’s time to go home. After two days, I’ve had enough of it. The next morning, I call him into my office and tell him that if he doesn’t intend to do anything there’s no reason for him to stay here.

So, he leaves. Half an hour later, his father calls me to his office. There I find the son sitting at his dad’s computer browsing through confidential folders and files like it’s his daily job. The dad starts complaining about how I’m not taking care of my intern. I explain that it isn’t my intern but his son and that his son simply refused to do anything I ordered him.

According to the father, I shouldn’t have ordered the boy to some work; I should have asked him. I see the boy smirking in the background, still browsing on the server and reading confidential and sensitive information about our clients. It is my job to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing this information, so I must take action.

I walk over to the computer, shut it off, and take the wireless mouse and keyboard with me.

Next, I’m off to the owner’s office, informing him that an unauthorized person has been reading confidential documents on our server.

The dad comes in and starts berating me, but he’s silenced by the owner. I’m told to go back to my office and find out what files the boy has been tampering with. I find out that he deleted files and folders and has been changing several documents. He did this mostly by typing some vulgarity in the documents, and in some documents he has changed dates and replaced names with lots of four-letter words. I print the changed documents, recover the deleted documents, and decide to restore yesterday’s backup. But this means that everybody most close the documents they are working on and that, in some cases, everything they did today will be lost. Also, they can’t work during the time I’m restoring files.

The owner calls me, asking for a “damage report.” I bring him the printouts of the changed documents and tell him what I have to do. The owner agrees and tells me to go ahead.

Sometime later, everything is as it was before. I call the owner to tell him that everyone can start working again. The owner tells me that the intern won’t be coming anymore and that I have to disable the computer account and the mail account of the civil law department manager.

The next day, I find out the owner made a deal with the department manager that if he’d resign no one would ever know the real reason why he left the firm. The owner later told me that he didn’t even know about the internship and that he never would have allowed it.

We Can Give The Power Or Take It Away

, , , , | | Legal | May 26, 2019

I work in a law office. A client of one of the partners of the firm emailed and asked for a copy of his mother’s Power of Attorney. This should be a really simple process. I emailed him back that all he needed to do was send us a copy of his ID to confirm his identity and we either needed to talk to his mother or have some kind of evidence that she had lost capacity.

Apparently, this was too much work for him. He proceeded to send eight increasingly angry emails and several phone calls demanding the POA without giving us the required information, saying he was too busy to waste his time on “unnecessary work.”

I kept telling him that it was not even our rule, but a requirement from the Law Society. Eventually, he sent a copy of his ID but insisted that “he didn’t want to bother his mother with something so trivial.”

By now his behavior was more than a little suspicious, so I sent him a last email telling him that because he had been impolite and uncooperative, I would not deal with him and he would have to speak to the managing partner.

It would probably take at least a week before the managing partner would have time in his schedule to deal with this guy, and when he did, I knew he wouldn’t be nearly as nice as I had been.

Basically, this guy could have taken five minutes to give us the required information and had the POA by the next day but now, if he kept going the way he had been, he wouldn’t get the POA for weeks.

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*

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