December 3, 2014

Why I Quit Practicing Law 2: Colleagues, Or Dirtbags

I remember fondly my second year of law school sitting with my best friend at the time who said to me:

"You know, I never met so many dirtbags in one place until I came to law school."

Oh, truer words were never spoken.  Back in the law school days, I saw future lawyers begin their career of slimebaggery by back signing the roll (ed. quick explanation: in class, you have to sign a roll every day.  You are allowed to miss only so many days of class.  But, certain individuals would sign the roll for the days they missed on a day they were present, therefore, back signing the rolls.  Totally immoral and unethical.), getting into bar fights, getting so sloppy drunk they threw up on themselves, cheating on exams, hiding books....eh, you name it.  There were even the douchebags who wore my university's law school gear to the undergrad bars to pick up co-eds.


Those were the future lawyers who would sleep with their clients.

Once I began to practice law, I noticed that these dirtbags would be my colleagues and I would have to work around them on a regular basis.  My first year of practicing, our local bar association assigned us "mentors" - great idea, except my mentor would not even speak to me in the hallway of a courthouse, much less offer up help with a case or advice.  There are so many stories I could share, most of which I would like to forget, but I thought I would share one of my favorites.  This particular incident angered me so much, it was the first time I started to wonder why I was in the practice.

It all began with a divorce client who hired me.  She was a very sweet woman, and I did not in the least get the "crazy client" vibe from her.  Let's call her Buffy The Client. It was to be a simple divorce.  I drew up a petition, filed it and we waited on Buffy's court date.  Then, out of nowhere, a strange letter arrived at my office.

Attorney Evil Witch
666 Hell Street
Hades

Dear Attorney MilitaryWife&PugLife:

Please send the entire contents of Buffy The Client's file directly to my office.  I am representing her for the duration of her case.  As you know, if you do not send the entire contents of her file, you are violating a code of ethics rule.  Send me the file or give me a date one of my runners can pick it up. Or else.

Sinisterly,

Attorney Evil Witch

My first reaction was complete confusion.  Why would this client fire me and not tell me?  More specifically, in my contract with all clients, it specifically states if you fire me, you need to notify me in writing of so, and I will release your file to you or to whomever you delegate.  I had not heard from Buffy the Client.  I had done nothing wrong to Buffy the Client.  What in the world was going on?  So I wrote a letter back.....

Dear Attorney Evil Witch:

My client has not indicated she fired me.  Per my contract, she is to do so in writing, and then I will release her file to her or you, if she requests same.  Please have my client contact me and I will take care of this matter immediately.  Otherwise, I will not release the file to anyone but her because it contains information that is private and attorney-client privilege.

Sincerely,

Attorney MilitaryWife&PugLife

Within a few days, I received a letter in return.

Dear Attorney MilitaryWife&PugLife:

You are violating an ethical rule.  My client, not yours, wants to complain about you for violating said rule, but I told her not to....yet.  Give me the file.  OR ELSE.

At this point, I am becoming angry.  I have tried to call my client and she does not answer her phone. While at lunch one day, I mention this entire incident to another colleague of mine who actually was one of the good guys.  When he heard the story, he said:

Good Guy Colleague:  "Oh so you know, Attorney Evil Witch, she goes to the courthouse and looks up the court slip to see the new divorce filings, finds out the client's name, calls them up and tells them what a shitty attorney they have and how they should hire her."

Me:  "She does what?"

Good Guy Colleague:  "She's a notorious client stealer. Sorry this happened to you."


Immediately, I return to my office and call Attorney Evil Witch.

Me:  Hi, Attorney Evil Witch, yes, I just wanted to explain why I am not giving you Buffy the Client's file.  I have not been notified by anyone but you that my client fired me.  There is information in her file like her social security number, bank statements, etc. that I am not giving to anyone without her requesting me to do so.  I am not trying to be unreasonable; if you would just have her send me a letter requesting me to...

Attorney Evil Witch:  YOU are unethical.  Give me her file.  Buffy the Client wants nothing to do with you.

Me:  Um, that is strange.  All I did was file her divorce petition and obtain her court date.  But anyway, all I need is a letter.  You can write it for her!  Just have her...

Attorney Evil Witch:  I am not listening to this anymore. *Click*

She hung up the phone on me.


Long story short, Buffy the Client finally wrote me a letter a few days after the phone call.

Dear Attorney MilitaryWife&PugLife:

Please send my file to Attorney Evil Witch.
I am firing you.
She told me you aren't a very good lawyer and I needed her.

Thanks.
Buffy The Client

Thus, my Good Guy Colleague was correct - she stole my client.  Now, just so you know, Attorney Evil Witch was an older, more successful attorney than I was at the time.  I was a young attorney, just getting my name out in town.  There was no reason to steal a client away from me, other than to be, well, an evil witch.


In conclusion, my colleagues are reason number 2 I no longer practice law.

Want to know the kicker of this story?  Attorney Evil Witch is now a judge.


But that is ok because I am an AWESOME.

Reveling in my awesomeness, I am still,




2 comments:

  1. Hahaha! I love this story so much!! It sucks that people are such scumbags. I may not know you personally but I can tell from your blog that you happen to be a GREAT military wife & pug mama, and these two jobs are far more noble than anything having to do with law or politics :) Awesome job picking out memes, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! You know, thinking about the story makes me so angry....but writing about it was mildly therapeutic. Thanks for reading! :)

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