Thursday, May 13, 2010

A look at the attorney-client relationship or Why I should cut the cord to my phone

Bill Cosby had a stand up bit about his kids and how they would do the same outlandish things every night with his gaggle of kids, it was called “Same Thing Happens Every Night.” The end of the Cosby drama always resulted in mass beatings of the kids. By his wife.

I can see the similarities with my clients. Frankly, I would like to hire someone to play the role of "Mrs. Cosby". As there is one client in particular that engages in the same thing every time she calls. To say that it is aggravating is an understatement.

According to those in the know, it may be ruining my life and I think they may be right.
Client: Hello there.
Mind you, she never introduces herself. Never says who it is. Never gives any indication of why she is calling. It’s always the same. Being the idiot that I am, I don’t realize it is her until I get passed the initial two word introduction. So, I answer in typical dodge/evade/re-direct fashion that never conveys I have no idea who is on the other end:
Me: Good to hear from you. What can I do for you?
Client: I just wanted to check on the status on my case.
It’s May. I signed up this client nine months ago. This is a case of clear liability and the defendant has admitted it. They want to settle this matter. However…
Me: It’s been about a week since we last talked, have you gone and had your arm looked at by a doctor yet?
Client: (Pauses)
I know its coming. It’s going to be a four minute recitation of how “woe-is-she” and that the doctors “are-telling-her-bullsh**” and so on and so forth:
Client: Well, I haven’t gotten the arm looked at yet because everytime I go to the hospital they are telling me that I have to wait to get the MRI. And I don’t wanna wait to get an MRI, I deserve to get the MRI now. This has been going on for nine months now and my world has fallen apart, don’t you know that…
Of course I know this sob story. I know that she has verbally assaulted every single medical treater that has tried to help her out. I know that she believes that she is entitled to top of the line medical care without having to pay for it or wait for it. I know that she…well…I’ll let you continue to read:
Client: …they don’t want to help me because I don’t have no insurance. They haven’t done sh** for me and my arm. They don’t want me to get better. They are out to get me. And I’ll never be able to get better. Now, I just want to settle this case immediately so I can move on with my life. Why are you not helping me? I’ve given you my life and my soul, and you haven’t helped me at all. You and the doctors and the insurance company no one wants to help me at all.
Yes, I am the reason she hasn’t done the necessary paperwork, phone calls or waiting to get herself treated. I am the reason her life is ending. And I am the reason she is crippled.
Client: Now just last week I my purse was snatched and my house was broken into and all my papers were stolen. My identity was stolen. My LIFE was stolen. Why aren’t you fixing this? I hired you as my attorney. You are supposed to prevent my life from falling apart like this.
Me: Did you call the police?
Client: Uh…no…
There’s a shocker of no magnitude.
Client: ...But what is going on with my case. Why have we not settled this? This is just crap and I just wanna move on with my life. I have a lot on my plate right now and all I want to do is move on with things and you are holding me up. This whole thing is holding me up...
It’s about this time that I see that her momentum is stalling. This is when I will spring on the offensive. Or, to quote Bill Cosby, "I have had enough of this!!!"
Me: We have been going on these calls for nine months now. I have told you time and time and time again to get an MRI. And you haven’t done it. You haven’t done anything except waste my time, yell at me and yell at anyone who picks up the phone. You will not get any settlement until you get a diagnosis of your injury. You are the only one to blame here. It is your fault for the fact that we haven’t settled this. The insurance company wants to pay you money, but you continually refuse to do what is necessary. It is your fault and no one but yours. Get the diagnosis. Get the treatment. I don’t want to talk to you until you’ve done this. Do you understand me?
Client: (Browbeaten) Yes sir.
Me: Now, get it done. Today.
Client: (Even more browbeaten) Yes sir. I’ll call you as soon as it is done.
No she won’t. This call will repeat itself again in nine days like clockwork.