Monday, June 21, 2010

The Drop In

“Thomas P. Client is here for your meeting”

But I don’t have a meeting…

There are only two categories of clients that will get me to arise from my desk and trudge looking for an empty conference room: (1) the ones with bank accounts that make your life depend on it and (2) the ones without bank accounts that make your life depend on it. Put another way, it is the clients that have cases that will mean lots of money for the firm or the clients that will attempt to take your law license away while getting you fired from the firm.

Pissing them off is typically not a direction that I choose to take.

I can duck phone calls with the best of them (“He’s out having a vuvuzela surgically implanted into his colon…”). However, when the proximity can measured in feet, not area codes, it gets a lot harder to pull off an effective duck and cover. The receptionist never knows who you are trying to avoid, thus, he/she has already given away the fact that you are present in the office. Game over: Client 1, You 0.

“Tell him, I’ll be up in a second”

The unannounced appearance brings a productive day to a screeching halt. It now is time to stop whatever legal work that is in progress along with multiple IM conversations presently occurring as well as the random internet surfing. I have to go put on my Big-Boy face on and pretend to be a competent professional.

That’s a problem in and of itself. I can bullshit with the best of them for a certain period of time but sooner or later, I run out of intelligent-sounding non-committal phrases.

When a client shows up like this, for me, it usually means that they want to complain about something. “Where’s my money” is a frequent gripe. “What’s taking so long and where’s my money” echoes often. I could go on and on but, there’s only so many ways someone can waste my time kvetching about the coin of the realm.

“As I’ve told you from the beginning, these things take time”

The moment I utter those words, it’s like I’ve just spit in the clients face. And there I sit praying that I can keep the client happy and extricate myself in an orderly fashion. Fifty some-odd minutes later the client has finished. The day can now begin. Again.

This happened twice today.