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Keeping Up With The Joneses… And The Other Joneses

, , , , , , | Working | November 16, 2022

It’s 1980, and my parents are in the middle of a divorce. Mom finds a place where you can meet with an attorney for free legal advice on a one-time basis. They are very strict about that.

Mom gathers up all the documents she thinks might be relevant and heads off to her appointment.

Mom: “I’m [Mom]. I have an appointment with [Attorney].”

Receptionist: “You’re [Mom’s Full Name]? You can’t see [Attorney].”

Mom: “Why? Is he out sick?”

Receptionist: “No, because you’ve been here before.”

Mom: “No, I haven’t.”

Receptionist: “Yes, you have.”

The receptionist opens a file folder and starts reading.

Receptionist: “You are [Mom’s Full Name]?”

Mom: “Yes.

Receptionist: “Your husband is [Dad’s Full Name]?”

Mom is getting a little creeped out at this point because she doesn’t remember telling them Dad’s name.

Mom: “Well, yes, but…”

Receptionist: “You live in [Wrong Town].”

Mom: “No. I’ve never lived in [Wrong Town]. I live in [Correct Town].”

Receptionist: “You have three sons.”

Mom: “No. I have two daughters.”

Receptionist: “But you have been here before.”

Mom: “No, I haven’t.”

Receptionist: “Yes, you have.”

Mom starts pulling out all of her documents. 

Mom: “Look, here is my driver’s license. It has my full name, birthdate, and address — in [Correct Town]. This is my marriage license. It has both of our full names, my maiden name, and our birthdates. Here are the birth certificates for my two daughters. This is the most recent mortgage statement. It has the address in [Correct Town] and how long we’ve lived there. I brought some other bills, too: gas bill, electric bill, water bill, and phone bill. They all show our address in [Correct Town].”

The receptionist brings out a phone book that covers the whole county. 

Receptionist: “Look, here you are in [Wrong Town].”

Mom takes the phone book and turns the pages. 

Mom: “And here we are in [Correct Town]. This is obviously another couple who just happen to have the same first and last names as my husband and me. As a matter of fact…”

She flips back to the other listing.

Mom: “…they have different middle names than us. See, they included their middle initials.”

The receptionist flips back and forth between the two entries for a few moments.

Receptionist: “Ohhhhh… So, when did you move out of [Wrong Town]?”

She eventually let Mom see the attorney. She didn’t look convinced, though.

You Don’t Have To Know Everything To Get Hired, Apparently

, , , | Working | October 10, 2022

I was a legal secretary in a huge law firm. A young attorney decided he didn’t like me and managed to get me transferred to another department.

But the firm hired a new secretary who was supposed to have a stellar amount of experience in that particular area of law, and I got to train her on the firm’s procedures, brief her on the big ongoing court cases, upcoming deadlines, and stuff like that.

During that handover, she asked me:

New Secretary: “Why do all the court pleadings start on line three instead of line one?”

At that time, this was a quirk of the particular court in this jurisdiction and had been for decades, as I recall. I was surprised that such an experienced and exemplary paragon of a legal secretary in that particular area of law did not know this.

Three weeks later, she was gone. I just smiled.

Cause A Meltdown And Watch Your Whole Life Melt Down

, , , , , , , , , , | Romantic | October 7, 2022

My boyfriend of two years and I have recently moved in together. However, as rent in our area is not cheap, we both need to be working full-time. I am a math teacher at a private school, and my boyfriend has been unemployed and living with his parents since he graduated from college. Now that he’s living with me, I expect him to pitch in financially.

It’s a bit like pulling teeth at first, but soon, he starts applying and getting interviewed for jobs. He’s a pretty smart, easy-going dude who just needs to be pushed a bit to get out of his comfort zone. After a few weeks of job hunting, he receives an offer for an executive assistant position at a local law firm, which he accepts. It’s excellent pay for the honor of running errands, making copies, and getting the lawyers’ coffee. Plus, it’s good hours, so he still has lots of time to chill out at home.

My boyfriend has a sense of humor that is very hit or miss. He’s accidentally burned some pretty important bridges in his life, due to not always “reading the room.” I’ve been working with him a lot on that, and the night before his first day of work, I remind him not to get too chummy with his new coworkers and superiors and keep working on understanding social cues. Then, I pack him lunch because I love him and see him off the next morning with a kiss.

I head to work, which wraps up about two hours before he’s done, and drive home… only to find my boyfriend sitting on the couch, eating dry cereal. I ask him without hesitation what happened.

Boyfriend: “I got fired.”

Me: “What?! But you only just started!”

Boyfriend: “I know.”

I’m ready to raise h*** in defense of my boyfriend… that is until he tells me the whole story. It turns out that one of the lawyers’ sons works the front desk at the firm and also happens to be on the spectrum. [Lawyer’s Son] is good at his job, but his father warned my boyfriend about one thing.

Lawyer: “We have a no-dog policy because of [Lawyer’s Son]. That means that no clients bring dogs in, no photos of dogs, nothing. He’s deathly afraid of them. Even the sound of a dog barking can set him off. He’s had a bad history with dogs, so please be mindful.”

That’s not too bad of a restriction, I think. My chill, seemingly awesome boyfriend can handle these instructions, right? Wrong. Turns out, as he was leaving for his lunch break, he thought it would be hilarious to show [Lawyer’s Son] a video of a young puppy squealing for its food. It apparently caused such a meltdown that [Lawyer’s Son] needed to go home early, and my boyfriend was fired effective immediately by phone call as he was ordering his lunch.

As soon as he’s done regaling me with this shocking saga, he looks up at me as if expecting sympathy. Au contraire, mon ami. I am f****** LIVID.

Me: “So, let me see if I got this. You managed to land a job that pays you well, has flexible hours, and even provides you benefits. I tell you to remember to be respectful on your first day. And you promptly traumatize a f****** coworker mere hours after you start — whose dad you work for, mind you — and you think that’s gonna fly?!”

Boyfriend: “I didn’t think it was that serious!”

He had every excuse prepared for me — that the phobia couldn’t have been that bad, that the puppy in the video wasn’t threatening at all, that [Lawyer’s Son] was overreacting, etc. I didn’t buy any of it. He slept on the couch that night, and I deeply reconsidered the whole arrangement.

HE ultimately broke up with ME because I was “too harsh on him” and “acted too much like his mom” when he subsequently slacked off on any further job hunting.

Last I heard, he was living in a mobile home with some college buddies, making minimum wage. I wound up rooming with a woman whom I ended up marrying. I eventually stopped by the law firm to apologize for my now ex-boyfriend’s behavior. It turns out that [Lawyer’s Son] volunteers for a cat shelter — he has no problem with our feline friends — and my wife and I have adopted two cats from the same organization based on his referral. Livin’ the dream!

Apparently, VLC Stands For “Victorious Legal Case”!

, , , , , , | Legal | CREDIT: MeowSchwitzInThere | July 27, 2022

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a legal nature. It is not intended as legal advice.

 

I’m a lawyer. A client comes in with a seemingly simple auto collision. The client was hit, and the other driver got out and said something like, “Oh, my God, are you okay? I’m so sorry! I dropped my phone and reached to get it…” The client had a dashcam that recorded the whole thing, including the admission of guilt. Easy client, right?

It turns out that the admission was really important because the type of accident didn’t make a “determination of fault” easy. (Imagine a rear-end collision at a red light as an easy determination, but a collision at a four-way stop sign as a hard determination.) When the cops showed up, the police report found both drivers at fault AND did not mention any statements from the other driver.

But we have our admission, and my client’s damages are above the other guy’s policy limit. So, I send a demand to the insurance company for policy limits. Note that the insurance company has an obligation to negotiate in good faith, which becomes important later.

The lawyer from insurance reaches out and says (basically):

Insurance Attorney: “Look, my client says they were driving safely, and the police report says shared fault.”

The initial offer is like ten grand.

Me: “Yeah, but my client had a dashcam and it recorded your client admitting fault.”

It’s important to understand that this is before dashcams are common. It isn’t my first case with a dashcam, but it might be my third or fourth. No mention of the dashcam was made on the police report.

The insurance attorney says (I imagine while twirling a dumb mustache):

Insurance Attorney: “Interesting, can you send me a copy of the video?”

I say sure and send it over.

Insurance Attorney: “I can’t open this!”

I send him a link to VLC Media Player.

Me: “It’s a weird extension, and Windows Media Player won’t play it. But VLC will. Just follow the installer instructions and it should play with no problem.”

Insurance Attorney: “I’m not installing something to watch your alleged dash cam video. Send me a file I can play if you want me to consider it.”

This makes me unhappy, but I try again.

Me: “It will take less than a few minutes to install, and then you can watch the video and listen to your client admit fault.”

Insurance Attorney: “We are done here until you send something I can play.”

Cue malicious compliance music: “Country Grammar”. Start a super cool montage of me going through other client files. Stop the montage as I open a file and my face is bathed in a golden light radiating from an old Memorex CD.

I’ve found a DIFFERENT dashcam video that does not contain any sound but can be played with Windows Media Player, AND it is close enough to my current client’s facts that if you weren’t paying attention, it could pass. [Insurance Attorney] just asked for “a file” he could play, right?

I send it over.

Insurance Attorney: “Wow, no sound. Guess you’re done, buddy.”

So, I sue. During discovery, I send a CD over which included the ORIGINAL video AND a copy of VLC. He must ignore it because he doesn’t say anything about it.

During a pretrial motion hearing, I play the video for the judge. The judge might have heard the other lawyer’s jaw hit his desk.

Insurance Attorney: “Your honor, this is not the video he sent to me!”

In my mind’s eye, I see the malicious compliance death star preparing to fire.

Me: “Judge, I thought he might say that. Here is a copy of our emails where I described the video, provided the video, and sent instructions on how to play it. Here is a copy of the CD I sent with discovery, which also has the video and a copy of VLC. Finally, here is a copy of the unrelated video which I sent to fulfill his request for ‘something he could play’.”

[Insurance Attorney] asked for a recess. Because he refused the initial demand of policy limits, I told him I would argue that he did not negotiate in good faith. We settled for well above policy limits. The client was very happy.

Some Customers Are Their Own Worst Enemies

, , , , , | Legal | July 22, 2022

Reading Not Always Right, I have always been a bit skeptical of people who are willing to destroy their own life over petty entitlement — that is until I actually ran into one.

I’m a lawyer and I had been working with a woman on a very specific court application that almost nobody in my city does, not because it’s hard, but, without going into details, solicitors consider it barrister work, and barristers consider it solicitor work. Importantly, this lady can’t sell her house without first filing this application.

This lady came in with her elderly father who is also on title with her.

The woman had been fine over the phone, but when she came in for a meeting to review the draft application and sign off, she was already huffy and looking for a fight.

The first thing she did was complain that this process was taking so long. It wasn’t. In fact, I had fast-tracked it because I was handling it as a favor to my boss.

Then, she complained that she had had to wait because I was sick and my boss should have been handling it. It had been delayed two days in a months-long process and she had been updated the whole time.

I started the actual meeting by describing how we needed court guidance on the application because it was very unique and each judge has their own way of handling it. She immediately took that to mean that I had no idea what I was doing. She complained that she wasn’t paying for me to get an education and she wanted a competent lawyer, not some moron.

Her dad managed to get her calmed down enough that she would listen to what I was trying to say, but I had to warn her to be more respectful.

Next, her middle name was spelled wrong. It was spelled the way that it was spelled on the documents we were trying to submit as evidence, but she spelled it another way. And I should have known that. Again, she went off shouting that I was totally incompetent and she never wanted to work with me; she wanted to work with my boss. After her screaming fit, she was reminded, much more strongly, that she would behave respectfully or be asked to leave.

Her father pleaded sadly to just get it signed and go, but he looked like a defeated man already.

Next, she got mad that the property address which she had given us as her address was not actually her address — which, again, we should have known. This time, she didn’t stop at the insults and berating. She got up and left, dragging her father out and shouting that she would be calling my boss to complain.

The father shook my hand and apologized before following her out the door.

I told my boss what had happened and he gave me a free hand to bill her for my time and fire her as a client. I will have to see if she calls my boss, but he’s far less patient with entitled people than I am, so I can guarantee it won’t go well for her.

But, coming back to the beginning of my story, this tantrum is going to cause serious problems in this woman’s life. She torpedoed her application at the eleventh hour, after basically all the work had been done. This means that she is not only going to have to pay for the work I did, but she will also have to go out and find another lawyer to do the same work over again. And I wasn’t kidding about very few people doing this kind of application. I can think of maybe two or three other lawyers who would do it. They all have hourly rates at least double mine, and they book six months in advance. She won’t be selling her house for a very long time.