Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Own Personal Never Again

There should be a rule, like that for doctors, prohibiting attorneys for practicing for family members. I'm convinced of it.

I'm involved in an family thingy that's been dragging on for nearly a year, and it's not getting better and I'm not getting paid. Instant replies are demanded, hours of research wasted to prove the most simple things, because they won't simply take my legal advice without my proving it to be right. And if I charge them for it, I'm an a-hole.

Thing is, I know what needs to be done, and while it's not easy, it's not all that complex either. But convincing the "clients" is nigh near impossible, and I'm getting sick of it. Faced with a client, whose answer to an opinion letter citing code sections and carefully trying to explain the situation is: "You are not the only one who can cite law. Newsflash: People smarter than yourself do exist." (follow with a quote from a totally irrelevant case in which the quote sounds good, if it weren't totally off-point). . . . wouldn't it be the logical thing to just quit? Yep, it would. And I should. But when they screw it up and land themselves in a whole ocean of hot water it would suddenly become my fault again and again for all foreseeable Christmases to come.

So I've consulted with other attorneys I know. Then I went out and hired one I didn't know for a very expensive independent opinion. Surprise, surprise, they all say the same thing. 'Cause it's a settled area of law, dammit, the only thing I didn't know to begin with was which forms to file with who and whether certain formal procedures were necessary. But now I'm getting more emails and calls, reiterating the same damn topics and claiming I'm a) stupid, or b) lying. *Sigh*

Okay, you other lawyers, how do you handle this? Should I just toss it right back at them? What if they screw it up so badly it looks like fraud, and I could get dragged back in, this time as a defendant, in the aftermath? I'm tempted to write a huge-ass CYA letter, certified and with email copies, telling them exactly what to do and what could happen if they don't, and then say have fun with it.

I think when this is over I'm going to tell everyone I've been disbarred.

(Important side note for comments - if any - I've carefully left out all names and details due to client confidentiality even though I've not been formally retained, 'cause I'm certain it'd still count under the ethical rules and sharing details is a huge no-no. If you know enough to know the situation, please refrain from sharing details.)

No comments: