When the Check Goes *Boing* – Lawyers and Credit Cards

Hey hey, it’s Wednesday here on Lawyers and Liquor and that means…what exactly does that mean anymore? I don’t know guys, I’m ankle deep in a ton of litigation stuff right now, and as I swim through the sea of stupid that is email and text message review in discovery, I find myself drifting back to a happier time. A nicer time. A more genteel era.  I am, of course, talking about the time when your clients paid their damn bills in full and on time.

Alright, so, a little background here.  My office, when I came into it, did not accept payment in any manner except check or cash.  Now, because I have a bad tendency of representing people, and because people aren’t exactly known for their tendency to carry around thousands of dollars in cash, this meant the majority of my clients paid with a check.  I know, there’s a younger generation of people out there going “What the fuck is a check? I just figured out those squares with the faces of dead guys on them last year, now you’re telling me there’s some other bullshit way of old-timey paying for goods and services?” Here’s the explanation: A check is like a paper version of a debit card that takes three-five days to hit your bank account.

You may be familiar with these if you’ve ever worked for someone that feels Direct Deposit is a tool of the devil or you have a grandmother that refuses to send cash through the postal service.

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Who Drives The Bus, Part 2 – A Guide to Decision Making for Young Lawyers

On Monday we talked about the Supreme Court case of McCoy v. Louisiana, wherein an attorney decided that a perfectly reasonable trial strategy was to tell the jury that his client had definitely committed murder in an attempt to avoid the death penalty.  The lawyer did this without the permission of his client, and in fact did it explicitly against his client’s wishes.  The client wanted the attorney to present a defense that he didn’t kill anyone, despite the state’s overwhelming evidence, and it brought to the highest court in the land the question of “Who really controls the representation.”

So we’re back today with Part 2, talking about who really gets to careen the bus of bad decisions off the freeway in glorious slow motion: the lawyer or the layperson who hires them. So, because I’m not gonna waste a lot of time or space today on building shit up, let’s just jump straight into this discussion.

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Who Drives the Bus, Part 1: McCoy v. Louisiana

Let’s start with the commonly accepted preposition that our clients are, by and large, incapable of finding their backsides with both hands, a map, and a native guide. Whether the client be the sweet little old lady from down the street or the meth dealer who’s been the scourge of the Shady Acres Mobile Home Community for the last three weeks before he fell behind on his rent, clients are collectively idiots without a single clue as to what’s in their best interests. It isn’t even their fault, really. As a society they’re trained to second guess people by television shows that teach them nice, and ultimately meaningless, phrases like “post hoc ergo propter hoc” that they can parrot back at the nice man or woman in the suit in front of them and make demands.

We live, ladies and gentlemen, in the Golden Age of Dipshittery, where any asshole with access to Google and a cable subscription can fancy themselves a lawyer. All hail King Dipshit, as he wanders into the office and proceeds to immediately second-guess the attorney. And, of course, because we learn the law from folks whose names are preceded by words like “Professor,” we of course have the vitriolic reaction of any learned professional when T-Bone tells us he  totally thinks we should argue he was driving that ATV through the nunnery because aliens told him to: Sit down, shut up, I’m the goddamn lawyer.

And so, today and Wednesday, we’ll talk about the division of decision-making between an attorney and their client, i.e., who has control over what and when in an attorney-client relationship.

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Dracula: The Deadbeat Client

It’s Monday on Lawyers & Liquor, and the first order of business is “Where’s the second episode of the podcast, asshole?” Well, the answer boils down to “I’m a technological incompetent with little ability to do things without a person holding my hand.” The audio recording of my interview with this episode’s guest, Chad Murray from www.chadtalkslaw.com, came out fucking awful on my end and has forced me to amplify my entire half of it…and of course I didn’t record it as two separate tracks and shit, which would have made sense. So it’s been a painstaking process, but the next episode will be out this Wednesday, so that shit’s at least sorted out finally.

Next, tomorrow’s Halloween, and I fucking love Halloween. It’s the time of year where people get to dress up as terrifying monsters, which for me simply entails wearing my normal daily lawyer get-up, and go passively rob people of their candy through a series of vague threats. “Treat,” the little bastards cry, “or trick.” It warms my soul, what little bit of it remains, to see the next generation getting the hang of armed robbery so goddamn early.

But for lawyers, every day is fucking Halloween, isn’t it? I mean, we all deal with monsters in some capacity in our work, from murderers to child molestors, all the way down to the guy that’s simply not going to pay his bill and put some small company out of business because they’re a fuckin’ skell, right? Right, motherfuckers, right. And, in fiction as in reality, lawyers have represented some horrible fucking monsters, haven’t they?

Like Dracula.

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An Offer They Can’t Refuse: Getting Clients to Pay, Part 2

Alright, so Monday I talked about all the reasons I hate it when a client doesn’t pay their bill. The main reason, as you might have gleaned, is because I provide a service, like every attorney out there, which requires me to use my knowledge, time, resources, and professional expertise to help people that can barely count to 11 even if they take off their pants first. This is not an easy task, and frequently leads me to question my life choices.

Today we’re gonna forge the fuck forward by talking about the four options frequently focused on when a client refuses to pay, and since it’ll be a long one, let’s just go right into this shit.

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