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It Pays To Advertise… Usually…

, , , , | Legal | July 28, 2020

A friend of mine was appointed executor of their mother’s will. Not knowing what to do, they asked my help. There were a few issues that needed addressing: a joint savings account naming [Friend] and their late mother, a bequest to friends of the late mother, and a brother of my friend who had not been named as a beneficiary, any of which alone would have been too complex for [Friend] to deal with without legal representation.

I asked my attorney, who had drafted my will, how to proceed. My attorney doesn’t do estate law, so they referred me to a colleague.

After some preliminary conversations by phone with [Colleague], my friend and I visited their office and were greeted by their assistant. We waited and waited and waited until finally [Colleague], who’d been on the phone all that time, came in looking somewhat bemused.

It seems that, about the time we’d arrived at [Colleague]’s office, [Brother] had phoned [Colleague] for a free phone consultation — in response to [Colleague]’s advertising, we presume — and was looking to employ [Colleague] on his behalf. [Colleague] had spoken to him seriously about his case until it became obvious that he was referring to exactly the same mother and will that [Colleague] was present to consult about, and that there would be a serious conflict of interest if [Colleague] accepted [Brother]’s case!

A couple of years after the fact, [Attorney] mentioned that they still marveled over that coincidence.

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We’re Sure The Courts Are Sick Of This

, , , | Right | July 22, 2020

Me: “[Office], this is [My Name].”

Client: “Hi, is the attorney there? I need to talk to him.”

Me: “I can check if he’s available. Could I get your name?”

There are some static-y noises in the background.

Client: “Hold on one second.”

Me: “All right.”

Client: “Can I get a Mexican pizza?” *Static* “No, no onions.” *Static* “No, I want olives, no onions.” *Static* “Right. No onions.” *Big pause* “Hello?”

Me: “Yes?”

Client: *Suddenly weak voice* “Tell my attorney I’m really sick and can’t make it to court.”

Me: “All right. Could I get your name and court date?”

Client: “I’m [Client] and my court date is on Tuesday.”

Me: “Okay.”

Today is Thursday.

Me: “Just so you’re aware, you may need a doctor’s note to prove to the court that you really can’t come.”

Client: “What?!”

Me: “The court. They may request a doctor’s note to prove you’re actually too sick to appear. It’s pretty common.”

Client: *Normal voice* “Yeah, sure. Bye.”

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Feeling Blue About Signatures

, , , , , | Working | June 26, 2020

I’m a legal assistant. Half the attorneys I work for are well advanced in years. One day, one of them emails me the most mundane assignment: format and print a letter for him. I do so and take it to his office for him to sign. He looks it over, has no changes, and signs it… in bright purple ink.

I’m very confused because one of the most fundamental rules you don’t even need to be a lawyer to know is that you only sign legal documents in black or blue ink. Despite being nervous about how it might come off, I give in to the urge to question what I just saw.

Me: “Is it okay to sign this in purple?”

Attorney: “It’s blue.”

Me: *Pause* “No, it’s purple.”

Attorney: “It is?”

Me: “Yeah, a bright, pinkish fuchsia or lilac.”

He stared hard at his signature, looking as confused as I was… and that is how we both learned he’d become color blind. Rational or not, I felt horribly embarrassed, but he just laughed it off.

We keep our pens in their original, clearly-labeled boxes in the supply cabinet. He simply made it a rule never to take colored pens into his office. Whenever he passes by my desk, he’ll routinely pause, hold out a pen or paper with his signature to me, and ask, “This is blue, right?”

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Working Pro Bonehead

, , , | Legal | June 19, 2020

Me: “Good morning, [Attorney]’s office.”

Man: “Yes, hi, I need [Attorney] to help me with my real-estate matter—”

Me: “[Attorney] does not practice real-estate law.”

Man: *Not listening* “—in New Jersey—”

Me: “[Attorney] only practices law in Maryland.”

Man: *Still not listening* “—and I have no money now, but I’m sure I’d be able to pay them once the matter is thoroughly settled.”

Me: “[Attorney] does not now and has never worked pro bono; they require a retainer and a signed Representation Agreement upfront.”

Man: “Oh… so will they meet with me or what?”

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Hungry For Legal Advice

, , , | Right | April 19, 2020

Me: “Thank you for calling the Law Office of [Lawyer]. How may I help you today?”

Caller: “I missed a call from this number; is this a restaurant?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I’m sorry. This is a law office.”

Caller: “Oh! I’m sorry, then. Thank you!” *Hangs up*

Not even two minutes later, I take a call from the same caller. This time she has the right number and I take her message for the lawyer to call her back. Before the call ends…

Me: “Thank you for calling! I’ll make sure the attorney gets your message.”

Caller: “Thank you! And by the way, this is not a restaurant, right?”

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