1. Sadly, I’ve almost come to expect that the other side will lie about me to my client and their own. I particularly love it when OC writes a letter to me accusing me of incompetence and then adding a settlement proposal I have to take to my client. What a great way to try and poison relations between me and my client. It happens so often I’m sure it works on somebody. It’s never worked with my clients (thank G-D). But I have to wonder why client’s fall for the trick. Surely they know that OC will do anything to disrupt things.
2. If you are a client and you lie to me, two things will happen: you are likely to lose the case because what you lie to me about is going to be important and when I don’t trust you to tell the truth I have to cross-check everything and that is costly. Guess who pays? In both cases? You do. My best advice: don’t lie, mislead, spin, prevaricate or obfuscate. I’m your lawyer. If you can’t tell me you can’t tell anyone. And I bet you have told someone and they can’t wait to tell everyone else–except me of course.
3. If you haven’t paid me, why are you telling me I am your attorney? Or trying to tell me what I should do? Or tell me I should do another project for you? I don’t get it. If you don’t value my work enough to pay for it, why should I give you something you don’t value?
4. No, I am not a mind reader and do actually need to know (fill in the blank here but it is something I’ve asked you for). I just love to drive clients crazy asking for things I don’t need just to make it appear that I’m working. Believe me, I don’t have the time to do that.
5. About those phone calls:
a. I absolutely hate it when I get a call or message from a client saying “I’ve been leaving messages for you for weeks” when I am absolutely sure that that isn’t true and I can prove it. Don’t lie to me. Don’t exaggerate, don’t spin, don’t do anything deceptive. It makes me doubt you even more and your credibility will be key in winning your case.
b. I haven’t figured out how I’m supposed to know you have been calling me if you don’t leave any messages. Then, when you do get me and you complain, saying “I’ve been calling you for weeks” what am I supposed to say?
c. Or, “I called you 4 times and you didn’t return my call!” Yes, you called yesterday at 9, and was told I was in court, you called again at 2 and was told I was still in court and would probably be out for the day, and you called at 4 and was told I was in court. You then called at 8 am this morning, before any of us were here, and it is now 10am.
d. Yeah and what about when you have left a long, detailed message for a client and then they call you right back, saying you called? Did you get my voicemail? No, I just saw you called. Would you please go check your voicemail and then call me back.
6. All we do is litigation. So if a client tells me that, if the other side hires a BigLaw attorney they will go get a BigLaw attorney of their own, what am I supposed to think? More to the point, what am I supposed to do with that fact?
7. You can have the work done quickly, cheaply or well. Pick 2 of the 3. You cannot get all 3. I don’t know if it’s a rule of nature, but it’s a rule of lawyers.
You are supposed to do the appeal pro bono because (I want you to). How am I supposed to feed my girls? Pay my staff? Cover the Mortgage? All because you don’t want to pay? What am I missing here? Robert Heinlein said it best: TANSTAAFL! (Look it up–it Means There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Free Lunch)