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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top X reasons why I love my clients

I received a bar complaint today.  I am PISSED to say the very least, but it has inspired me to write this list.  At times it may seem comical, and if it places a smile on your face that's cool...but I am so serious.  I will write about the complaint later...after I clear my name.

The reason for the 'X' in the title is because there are oh so many reasons why I love my clients that I am not sure how long my list will get.  I am confident that my list will grow, please feel free to make suggestions.

9. You believe ours is a relationship that will last forever. I must admit that I really love that about you. I love how you think that although I am not a 'real' lawyer, that I am, nevertheless, your life coach. You have a question about why the Department of Public Safety won't give you your driver's license back? Don't call them-call me. You want to know if your mama can just kick you out of her basement since you aren't paying rent, or does she have to legally evict you since you have your toothbrush in the bathroom? Reach out to yours truly. Somebody hit you and then just kept driving but you don't have insurance and now you don't know what to do because you need your car fixed? By all means, ring my phone. It's not like I'm busy. You need to know whose hiring? Don't bother the temporary services, employment agencies or the classifieds. Why would you do that when I so VERY clearly have the inside scoop on who is hiring, when and what it will take for them to hire you without you bothering to go there, fill out an application or speak with a manager. Can't find your social security card so you can get another driver's license? Social Security Administration tell you that you need documentation of who you are? They tell you to get some medical records? What KIND of medical records you ask....well hell, stop by my office, sign in, wait 30 minutes for me to come back from court so you can ask me. Because of course, I am Yoda and I know all. Think for yourself, do not.

8.  Because you think I am your homegirl.  You have been brought to court by a detention officer, notice that I have my cell phone and want to know if I will let you text your mom? SURE! O_o  Sigh...I am not your "ace boon coon."  Period.

7.  I love you Dear Client because you make referrals.  I truly appreciate you telling your uncle to give me a call and offer to hire me and pay me under the table.  It is nice to know that you want to reward the hard work I have put in on your case by potentially having me arrested or disbarred. (SN: I realize this is supposed to be a compliment, 'hey, my lawyer is great, here is her name and number' but all it does is remind me how much money I am NOT making when your uncle offers to pay me more than a month's salary to handle a case that, on its face, seems very simple.)

6.  You write the clerk for legal advice.  I know, this is my fault.  When I told you that I would let you know when I get an offer or discovery in your case, I was not clear.  When I introduced myself and gave you my card, I accidentally slipped you her card by mistake.  It's my bad.  Go ahead, make your admission/plea/foul language/CONFESSION an official part of the court record by writing the Circuit Court Clerk.  The only way you can help me out even more is by writing the Judge.

5.  I love you so much Dear Client because, despite our many talks about appropriate court attire, you are your own person.  You wear what you want to wear and damn the consequences.  Seriously, why should you have to change out of your bedroom slippers, replace your pajama pants with slacks or wear a shirt that covers your belly.  Everyone in society is a follower but NOT YOU! You? Oh you take the road less travelled, you dare to wear the skirt that shows every single one of your cookies when you sneeze. And good for you.  If the judge is going to chastise you for coming to court high, you may as well be repping the Mary Jane on your shirt. 

4.  Because you call me 5 times a day.  I love the sound of your voice.  I mean it.  That special way that you whine when I relay the horrible offer from the District Attorney, or the beautiful sound of the "ck" combination rolling off of your bottom lip when you yell "FUCK" into the telephone receiver.  Man there is NOTHING like it.  Really, your Tuesday is not complete until a client calls and calls and calls and calls and call and CALLS, just to ask you if anything new has happened in their case since their last court date.  Yesterday.

3.  You ask inappropriate questions.  Would you ask an attorney that you pay $200 an hour if they 'have a man'?  I'm sure you wouldn't, but you know what? You and I are close like that, we are kismet, practically soul mates, at the very least we are in the same tax bracket so why not get a little closer?  I know your life history, it only serves to reason that you would know mine.  Want my home number? Why not, all I do is sit up at night thinking about you so why not make it a party and let you know how to find my home.  What am I doing this weekend?  Have I ever smoked marijuana?  Is my man making me happy? Ask away, I love being grilled by you.

2.  I love you, Dear Client, because you stop by my office whenever your little heart desires.  Appointments be damned, I mean, who in the hell needs notice when you want to sit and chat for an hour?  All I'm doing is sitting in my office, twiddling my thumbs and wondering why in the hell you didn't show up unannounced sooner!
(http://www.etsy.com/listing/85973337/dictionary-art-love-quote-vintage-oh-how)


1.  Because you file bar complaints against me after you have spoken with your jailhouse lawyer.  I know that I am the scum of the earth because you did not have to pay for me, of COURSE it makes sense that someone you paid in cartons of cigarettes and bags of Doritos would have a better professional education that yours truly.  I mean, I am only 'good enough' for gov'ment work, THEY are down in the trenches getting close to their clients.  I realize that when I have truly, TRULY made it, I will stop working for a paycheck and start working for what actually matters.  Extra fish sticks.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't consent and don't confess.

~LT

Saturday, May 25, 2013

...and....

I attended a law school that is HUGE on advocacy.  There are more than a few students that wind up participating in trial competitions, moot court competitions or negotiation and mediation competitions.  Scholarships galore and support from the community make participating in advocacy-based programs more attractive.  If nothing else can be said, no one can dispute that Cumberland School of Law prepares you to be an effective advocate.

In addition to the general atmosphere of the law school being pro-advocacy, the coaches that the school brings in are phenomenal!  My coach taught me more than I could have ever possibly hoped to learn on my own. 
Rule #1 in trial advocacy? "Listen, listen, DAMMIT listen." 
Rule #2? "Why doesn't matter"
Rule #3? "Do NOT ask a question you don't know the answer to...unless the answer doesn't matter."

There are many more "rules" of trial advocacy and really I subscribe to the camp that you are either someone that has 'IT' or you don't.

SSSSoooooo, I said all of that to say, there is an Assistant District Attorney in our jurisdiction that does not have 'it' anywhere in her little body.  One of the things you learn early on (if you have good coaches or helpful upperclassmen that are willing to guide you in the right direction) in the process is you do not start all of your questions with "and."  As a matter-of-fact, you shouldn't start ANY of your questions with 'and.'  So as I sit in trials with her month after month, it burns that special spot on the upper-right corner of my stomach to hear her ask questions:

"...and was that during the day or at night?"

"...and did you see the defendant?"

"...and what was the defendant wearing?"

"...and can you tell us what happened when you first came into contact?"

"...and what did he say?"

"...and what did he do?"

...and...

         ...and...

                  ...and...

...aaaaannnnndddd....you get the point.  Now, imagine sitting      through hours of that.  You want to gouge your eyes out with a dirty, bent, rusty nail, don't you?



I am very, very thankful for the education, both formal and informal, that I received at Cumberland.  I wish I could send her there.  It might make sitting through trials with her a little more bearable.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't consent and don't confess.

~LT

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Jail Video

Thanks to the ever evolving, growing, changing, upgrading world of technology, I now have the ability to "visit" my clients via video from our office.  (Ok, so I have had that ability for a few months now).  Though we are still encouraged, required actually, to visit our clients in person, the video helps in situations like when you get a change in an offer that you have relayed to your client and you don't want to drive to the jail to tell them about the addition or deletion of one provision.  It is helpful in situations where you find out there is a treatment bed available for them and you just need a phone number of a family member that would be willing to bring a bag of toiletries by the office before we send you to the facility.  It is a very helpful tool that makes it possible to see the 5 clients who just sent you a letter asking you to come see them "real quick" because they have A question to ask you.  I'm sorry, but the jail staff is slow and I LOVE the video.

However...

I have had two problems with the video and they both stem from the same issue.  Not only can I see my client, but they can see me.  And so can the people in their pod.  See, we speak on the phone and it's supposed to be confidential (you have to call the jail to be connected and call for the line to be disconnected) and we look at each other through what is essentially a computer monitor.  If someone is playing cards at the table behind my client they can look up and see..."Hey, that's Ms. PD!"

          Problem #1: I received a...a-hem...'love' letter from someone that saw
          me when I was chatting with a client.  This person apparently asked
          my client for my name and decided to request that I become their
         pen pal.  Not for all of the chocolate milk in the world honey.  I would
         have posted a translated copy of the letter here for you, Dear Reader,
         to review; but after everyone in my office cracked their sides laughing
         at the letter I handed it over to my supervisor without thinking.  Don't
         worry, I will think of you next time ;-)

          Problem #2: As I am speaking with a client today, I notice a line
          forming.  Initially I thought all of the ladies in the pod were just
          playing cards but then when two more ladies sat down, with their
          backs to the first two ladies, facing me, looking right at the screen, I
          realized-they're ALL waiting to talk to me.

Under normal circumstances, I would welcome the opportunity to help someone that needs me.  But today I could feel my chest tighten as I looked at the ladies in that pod waiting to bombard me with their questions, requests and concerns.  It seems the number of people that need help keeps multiplying, while the number of people available to help is being subtracted. 

So I made a resolution today, I will no longer be using the jail video.  It will be a huge pain in the you-know-what to drive over to the jail just to get a phone number from a client, but at least then I won't have to worry about getting random love letters from the jail.

Sigh...off to the jail tomorrow.

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't consent and don't confess.

~LT

Monday, May 6, 2013

Newspaper Caper

So today I woke up with knots in my stomach. I spent all weekend preparing for a trial, woke up and put my pretty girl face on....then the case settles for an apology.
I know, I know. I said wtf too.
I haven't even told you the best part yet.  Ready for it? The trial, the JURY trial set for today was about a newspaper.
Close your mouth, a fly is coming. I'm serious, a newspaper. I spent 10 hours working on Sunday, I recorded and listened to my opening over and over again last night, I made our client cry...and the case settled for a freaking apology.
Sigh. I's tired. Lol

Until next time,

Be blessed, be careful, don't consent and don't confess.

~LT