“Turtles Ain’t People”: The Law and Pets, Part 1

Everyone have a nice holiday? Awesome. Glad that could happen. Now button up the top button on your shirt, tighten your tie, and hunker down in the cubicle of sorrow you’ve built around your desk with old files. The weekend’s over, and we got a couple months before the next day off rolls around to make us feel like humans again, it’s time to start being the faithful servant of all the assholes that can’t add two and two together without somehow making it equal “banana.”

Speaking of faithful servants, today I want to talk about pets. Pets, as in animals, dogs, cats, hamsters, snakes…though anyone keeping a cold-blooded killing machine and calling it a pet might as well just adopt a lawyer and get it the fuck over with. Pets are wonderful things to have. They love you unconditionally, they don’t care if you spend entire nights sitting around eating an entire ice cream cake on your own in your underwear while quietly sobbing about the condition your life is in. Pets are just happy that you give them a little food and scratch them behind the ears every now and again, except for cats, which can only be happy when your body is cold and stiff in the bed so the feasting may begin. Yeah, all in all, pets are fucking awesome.

Unless they happen to be at the center of a legal dispute that you’ve been hired to help resolve. Then they are little balls of satanic fur that you wish would just fucking die already so you can close the goddamn case file and get on with doing real lawyer shit that doesn’t involve trying to determine the appropriate custody arrangement for a fucking chihuahua.

So this will be part of a three (or more) part series taking a look at how lawyers, owners, and clients need to view their pets in relation to the applicable laws. Today we take a look  at pets as property and what that means for the more financial aspects of legal practice.

Continue reading ““Turtles Ain’t People”: The Law and Pets, Part 1″

Involuntary Pro Bono: When Clients Ignore Invoices

Here’s a rule of thumb to keep in the front of your mind during every client interaction:

Clients are scum that will take every opportunity to screw you over.

Clients will walk off with your invoices unpaid, taunting you to come after them. If you do come after them, clients will file unfounded bar complaints that you have to defend. If you sue a client for past-due fees, you’ll draw the ire of the local bar association because you didn’t submit to their fee-dispute mediation program. If you try to retain a client’s file to try and force the payment, they file a bar complaint. At the end of the day, trying to collect from a client who wants to avoid paying you is a nightmare for the lawyer, to the point that many of us look at how much is owed, figure it’s the cost of doing business, and write it off.

By the way, those written off fees?  They don’t count towards your pro bono requirements if you have one.  Ain’t that some shit.

Continue reading “Involuntary Pro Bono: When Clients Ignore Invoices”