“The Sky Is Falling” – The Difference Between Clients and Lawyers

Let’s go back to talking about something I absolutely love discussing today: Clients. Clients, in case you’ve managed to somehow forget, are the literal bane of my existence. They’re also the reason that I can afford to do things like eat food and sleep indoors. As such, clients and I have a love-hate relationship, in that I love taking their money but hate having to deal with the minutia of human existence.

However, today I’m not going to rip clients a new asshole. I want to, oh lord do I want to, but at some point I’ll have to acknowledge that clients are people too. Frustrating, infuriating people who you wish would just send in their goddamn invoice payments and leave you the hell alone to work through some shit in lawyer land, but people nonetheless. Until my proposed legislation reclassifying clients as big game, and therefore open for hunting once or twice a year, passes, we’re just going to have to accept that your clients, and likely most of my clients (the jury’s still out on this) are human beings.

As clients are, debatably, humans, they are also deserving of a bare minimum of understanding. Maybe, some schools of thought that I believe are absolutely incorrect would say, clients aren’t bad people. Maybe they’re good people having a bad time, and I should mention that. In the interests of fairness, though not agreement, today I’ll take about a few things every attorney, be they a bright-eyed asshole or a salty old veteran, likely needs to understand when dealing with their clients in any litigation matter:

How clients and lawyers view a legal matter vis a vis the importance of it is drastically fucking different.

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South Dakota Prisoners: “Siri, What’s the Appellate Standard of Review for…”

Jesus I’m barely standing up today. This week has been hell on wheels for me as I start moving a few cases closer to the mythical beast that is a civil trial, intake a few new clients, and wade through literal mountains of case citations to figure out just where we stand on a few things. Kids, if you ever say you want to be a lawyer because of some desire to be the center of attention in a courtroom or some perverse, almost obsessive, love of Sam Watterson (Oh Sammy, you can move to dismiss my affections, but you can’t object in my dreams), remember that those moments are few and far between for the civil attorney. The vast majority of cases settle long before trial, and they settle because of the huge amounts of research you put into a case as it progresses until you can make something that resembles a cogent argument.

I mean, guys, legal research is fucking complicated, even with the advent of computer searches like WestLaw, Lexis, FastCase, and, uh…those other ones. That, of course, is assuming you have access to all of those things,  because some lawyers and law offices don’t. They hate efficiency and ease of practice and prefer to sentence associates to wander the stacks of the local law library in search of some tattered copy of a state reporter to look up one case from 1890 that somehow barely touches on the issue at hand, then track the entire line of cases down with cross-references and reviews the whole damn time.

In other words, this shit, doing legal research and knowing what you’re looking for, is hard.

So that’s why South Dakota has decided inmates can just sort of…wing it.

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I’m Gonna Ramble About Drug Court

It’s Tuesday. Monday was yesterday, and yeah, I’m aware there was no post. Shit was happening yesterday. Las Vegas saw a gunman take over 50 lives and damage hundreds, if not thousands, of others. Some guy drove a truck into a crowd in Edmonton over the weekend. The internet was aflame and brightly burning with the cries of the world as everyone tried to make sense of the tragedy.

Except me. I made jokes. When it was stated that the shooter in Las Vegas was a country music fan, I was quick to jump on it with “Except, apparently, for Jason Aldean.”

When a gun manufacturer tweeted that “Prayers were the best armor,” I couldn’t stop myself from saying “Except for our products. They don’t do anything about our products.”

When someone asked, seriously, if they should lie in order to donate blood because they were gay, I answered “Yeah, but not about being gay. Just lie about some random shit. Tell’em you’re the King of Sweden or something.”

This is what I do. I respond to tragedy with humor, because many, many times in the course of my work I get to see human tragedy up close and personal. Yeah, it’s not as visceral as responding to a shooting or a burning building, but when you work with people in trying times you tend to see them get ready to fall apart, or watch their entire world end with a single judgment or court order, and it isn’t pleasant to see that shit day in and day out. The rest of the time? The rest of the time lawyers can be some dark sons of bitches. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, though, because we’re still humans…the humor is a coping mechanism for the horribleness of the world, a way to get through to the next case or the next client after something truly terrible walks through the doors of the office.

But sometimes we just need something good. It’s why lawyers have things like “that one case” where they did something good or saw something awesome happen. It helps us stave off the terrible fucking things that sometimes come through our offices.

So that’s what we’re doing today. We’re gonna talk about a good aspect of the legal system and let people have a little time to recover from the fucked up insanity that has been the past three days.

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Four Reasons I’m Totally Okay With Not Being At Clio Con.

So this week, as this post is being typed and going live, there’s a conference full of lawyers going on in New Orleans. Called “Clio Cloud Conference,” it’s as if decades of governmental corruption, a goddamn hurricane, and having a dozen people bet they can tell you “where you got them shoes at” wasn’t enough punishment for choosing to live in the original city of perpetual sin (seriously, that place has all of the Big 7 available within easy walking distance from your hotel), an internet lawyer company decided attorneys should descend like locusts from the heavens on the fair city for a few days. Of course, this doesn’t include yours truly.  Because yours truly can’t justify taking off a Monday and Tuesday to fly down to New Orleans, wear horribly loud Hawaiian shirts, and “network” with people like Keith from Associate’s Mind or any of the other legal luminaries that will be rampaging around the Quarter.

Instead, I’m in my office with a desk overflowing with files, bad fucking music playing in the background, and a cup of coffee as black and bitter as my goddamn soul is.

But I’m not bitter about the fact every other goddamn lawyer on the internet seems to be gathered in a cesspit of fun and depravity. Not at all. Why would I be bitter about that? Shit, I can even give you four good reasons why I totally don’t even fucking care that I’m not at the Clio Cloud Conference in New Orleans!

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Titles Matter: What Young Lawyers Shouldn’t Call Themselves

Alright my little baby lawyers who have recently gotten their bar results and decided that makes them big boys now, it’s time for the regular edition of Boozy telling you how little you know about the generalities of being an attorney, nevermind how little you know about the practice of law itself! See, law school and the bar exam may teach you a lot of stuff about your ability to retain and regurgitate useless knowledge on command and the minimal competence needed to enter the practice of law, but what it doesn’t teach you is how to avoid looking like the world’s biggest asshole while doing it. There are plenty of young attorneys out there that make the rest of us shake our heads and wonder how many brain cells you destroyed during pledge week in undergrad, because by and large you’re all fucking morons with none of the skills needed to discern between a good idea and an amazingly bad idea.

Like what you should call yourself.  Don’t lawyers get cool professional titles and shit that you can append to the end of your name in a desperate bid to validate the horrible life choices you’ve made and prove to your family that you’re important? Sure. Sure we do. Now let’s talk about why you shouldn’t be fucking using them, you pompous self-righteous prick.

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