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A Lawful State Of Mind

, , , , , | Legal | May 31, 2021

My team at work wants to record audio from phone calls, and we have been sent to talk to the lawyers to make sure we do it right. We’re discussing this via video call.

Lawyer: “It’s state-by-state. Some require more warning than others.”

Coworker: “Okay, I gotta ask, I’m just curious. I’m in New York, but—”

He gets up and points the camera out the window. We’re now looking down on a river next to a forest.

Coworker: “—that’s Connecticut. I’m right on the border. If I start a call here and I’m recording you, but I toss the phone out across the border, do the laws of New York or the laws of Connecticut win out?”

Lawyer: “You’re on what, the sixth floor? On paper, Connecticut, but in reality, you’re still in the jurisdiction of physics.”

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But I Want The Desk With The View Of The Printers!

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: silvyrphoenix | May 24, 2021

I work in a small IT department for a law firm. Normally three people, we are at two people at the time of this story. In addition to the team being understrength and both members of the team almost drowning with the workload, I am dealing with health issues. I have reduced my hours to try to cope and have been working from home when I can. Bear in mind that the antagonist of this story, [Coworker], knows about this as she and I are on good terms and speak fairly regularly.

One Wednesday, my manager and I are asked to meet with one of the heads of department to discuss some building work and some members of staff moving, one of those staff being [Coworker]. We are told the details and work out a plan. I set up [Coworker]’s new workstation with new equipment — one monitor, keyboard, mouse, and desk phone — there and then and tell her that she can move there for now, and on Friday, I’ll set up the second staff member’s desk and install the second monitor for [Coworker].

The building work is due to be done on Monday. [Coworker] is informed where she is going and that all she has to do is move her laptop and plug into the docking station. We leave with everyone knowing what the plan is.

Thursday morning, I am working a half day from home. A phone call comes in at around 9:10 am.

Me: “IT, [My Name] speaking.”

Coworker: “Hi, [My Name]. My monitors aren’t working! I need things to work ASAP!”

I’m suspicious about her saying, “monitors,” as I only set up one monitor.

Me: “Okay, I’ll have to come in as I’m at home right now. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

I get myself ready, go into work, and go to [Coworker]’s desk. She is not sitting there; instead, she is at the desk for the other member of staff with all the equipment from her old desk. She has unplugged everything and moved it over, but she failed as she didn’t know how to reconnect everything. I begin the conversation fairly irritated as my fears are confirmed.

Me: “Why are you sitting there? Your desk is set up here.”

I point to the desk opposite that she has to have walked past. Her phone with a display is there with her name on it. She’d have to be blind to not see it.

Coworker: “I didn’t know!”

I know that she did know, but I don’t make an issue of it.

Me: “If you didn’t know, you could easily have asked.”

Coworker: “I’m sorry, but—”

Me: *Cutting her off* “Sorry does not include the word ‘but’.”

Coworker: “It’s no one’s fault. Can you just set me up on this desk?”

Me: “No one’s fault? Are you having a laugh?”

Coworker: *Storming off* “Oh, just do your job!”

Me: *Angrily* “That is not a good approach!”

I set up her workstation with her old equipment, called her over, asked her to log in, and, once I saw that everything was working, I left without another word. I don’t think I have ever been so angry at work. It took me almost a week to calm down. Even now when I think about it my anger stirs.

A few days later, my manager called me into a meeting with a really apologetic tone and look. He said that there had been a complaint about me. He didn’t disagree with what I said, but said that I had let my “customer service” mask slip.

This instance showed me how little [Coworker] respected my time, my workload, and my health. Just because she didn’t want the desk she was given. And what makes it worse? She is leaving in a month or two. Whenever she sees me now, she either ignores me or glares daggers at me as if I disrespected her!

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We Just Paid Witness To A Stupidity

, , , , , | Legal | May 19, 2021

I am a lawyer, and I do notarization when I have time.

Client: “I would like you to notarize some copies of the separation agreement between my wife and me.”

Me: “I can make notarial copies of the agreement, but only if it has already been signed by all the parties before your own family law lawyers.”

Client: “I just need copies.”

The day of the appointment, a man and a woman show up to my office and start arguing in the parking lot. The argument starts to turn into a shouting match, and I am just about to call the police when they both calm down and walk into my office.

They introduce themselves and, sure enough, it is my notarization client. He gives me the separation agreement and, of course, it is not signed.

Client: “We wrote this agreement up ourselves, and we need you to witness our signatures.”

I like having a license, so I just referred them to a family lawyer. They left my office and, after another two-minute shouting match in the parking lot, got in a car — together — and drove off.

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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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