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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Representing the Reprehensible: Part 1 – Boozy Rambles

Good  morning, or afternoon, or whatever time of day it is! Look guys, I’m not only writing a blog, I’m a practicing attorney, and that means from time to time shit runs late, like it did today and last week and…shit, I mean…every week since I took that ill-advised trip to the mountains to remember what it felt like to unclench my asshole for a few days. But that’s well in the past now, and it’s time for me to start doing shit that I’m supposed to be doing again, like updating this thing and passing on profane wisdom to those who need a swift kick in their perpetually idealistic asses. Which…you know…include letting people know that sometimes you’re going to represent people you abso-fucking-lutely despise.

I’m not just talking about your run of the mill “Oh, clients just flat out suck” type of person you despise either. Nope, not today my merry little shitstains. Today I’m talking about the client who causes your skin to crawl and your brain to say “Nope, fuck you man, you want to take this case you can talk to your ass cause that’s the one making the arguments.” I’m talking about the representation of the world’s reprehensible folks. You know the type I’m taking about, the one’s who go on and on about the purity and strength of the “White Race” while looking like Skeletor and having someone they can call “Sister Momma” with a straight face.

“Fuck them, Boozy,” people who definitely are Muggles will say as they read that paragraph, “Tell us why they don’t deserve a lawyer!”

I’m about to piss a lot of those fucking Muggles off though, guys, because here’s the simple truth: Lawyers aren’t supposed to make moral or judgment calls about their clients (even though we totally do), and that doesn’t just apply to the fluffy, furry, fuzzy fun fuckers…it applies to the hardcore Neo-Nazi assholes as well.  Because that’s our goddamn job.

I can hear the sounds of the non-lawyers blocking me on Twitter and removing the site from their news streams even as I type that. Well, good fucking riddance.

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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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The CYA Letter: A Staple of Stupid Clients

Clients, the final moronic entity that stands between you and happiness. Maybe a settlement offer has come in that’s more than fair and you communicate it to the client, who steadfastly refuses to accept it despite the fact they have no money left and are so far behind on their bills even the bankruptcy court is saying “Damn man…” Maybe it’s you telling the client that great idea they’re having is most definitely illegal and will end in an audit and possible prosecution. Maybe it’s the client who wants to enter into a contract that you advise against, multiple times, and ends up owing the guy down the street, who wasn’t a party to the contract in the first damn place, their life savings, car, house, wife, and dog. No matter the situation, every lawyer is dreadfully aware of the fact that when you tell a client Option A is probably the best choice, there’s even odds the client will invent Option Z out of thin air and doggedly pursue it, ignoring the fact that they’re paying you to help them.

Generally, given my longstanding dislike for clientele, this would be a win-win for me. I get paid, I do my job ethically, and an idiot who had just enough in the way of functioning fucking brain cells to realize they needed a lawyer but not enough to listen gets their comeuppance. Life in those situations is a little slice of heaven, right up until the client tries to sue you or bring a bar complaint saying your advice was wrong and their horrors are directly your fault.

“No, Boozy,” I hear you cry, “You mean clients don’t take responsibility f0r their own stupid ass decisions? Say it ain’t so!”

Okay smartass. I get it.  This isn’t exactly a shocking revelation, but let me as you something:

Did you paper the file with a CYA letter?  No? Well, have fun defending yourself.

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Problem Client Identification: 3 More Species of Problem Client

We’ve established several times on this blog that I’m not the biggest fan of clients. Like most professionals who have to, in some way, deal with the general public, lawyers are genuinely convinced that the practice of law would be a wonderful thing if, you know, it wasn’t for the hordes that beat down our doors. But, because only law professors and federal judges get to be esoteric about the practice of law, here’s the sad truth of the legal profession: we all have to deal with people that, under any other set of circumstances, we wouldn’t want to touch with someone else’s twenty foot pole.

Now, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like helping people out. But Jesus fucking Christ can clients become irritating. They get to a point where they’re like yapping little dogs at times, you know, the sort that you shove in a purse and zipped closed, not caring that they’re likely shitting all over your new iPhone just so long as they’re not barking at you for once. Add into this the fact that clients often think they know exactly how you should be, you know, practicing goddamn law, what with their mastery of Google and the degree they have in an entirely unrelated field, and you end up in the worst fucking nightmare that a lawyer can have.  The phone never stops ringing, the emails never stop coming in, and the small matter that you took on for a flat fee because it was relatively simple and should have been quick and easy is now a thing that makes you sit bolt upright in bed at night considering how many other career paths you could have fucking followed if only you’d dragged your head out of your ass long enough to heed the warnings of the broken fucking shells of senior attorneys.

But, hey, that’s the life we fucking live, right?  In the past I talked about how to identify problem clients and gave you two types: The Junior Lawyer and the Speed Demon, but I realize that the multitude of problem clients extend far fucking beyond just those two particular types of dickweeds, so today let’s take a look at 3 more clients that make lawyers run for the goddamn hills, desperately in search of the Fountain of Scotch that restores our faith in humanity.

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