Thursday, August 5, 2010


First, a disclaimer. Most of my clients are the type everyone wants to have. You give them advice, they mostly follow, you clean up any minor left over messes, and then the case concludes. You’re paid, they’re satisfied, and the earth continues in orbit. Unfortunately, that does not make for exciting reading. Besides, I’m already at a handicap. It’s not like my writing is that easy to wade through. So, I have to write about the stuff that is at least marginally interesting and out of the ordinary.

Like this:

The office was hopping! There were clients lined up at the receptionist window, every receptionist was on the phone, and the telephones were blinking like a Christmas tree. I looked at my phone and decided to dive in.

Now, normally, the calls are “screened” for us by the receptionists. It’s not actual screening, because they don’t keep the clients away from us, but they figure out where to route the call. Sometimes, we’ve made a note in the client’s electronic file, and the receptionist can look it up and answer the question right there. Other times, they may ask for me, but their file is with another attorney. Even more important, they also keep away the small percentage of people who live somewhere else. Don’t know where they live, but it’s certainly not this planet.

I pick up one of the lines on hold, and take a deep breath. It’s like Russian roulette. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.

Me: Thank you for calling Law Office, how can I help you?

Caller: I filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy there that was just discharged and I think I overpaid the mortgage company.

Me: Ok. Let me pull up your file. What did you say your name was? [Answer] … Hmmm… I can’t seem to find it. How do you spell that? [Answer] … Hmm… When did you file? … [Answer] … Still nothing.

Caller: Oh, wait… I didn’t use your firm to file.

Me: ?! … Well, ma’am, you’re going to have to call your attorney.

Caller: But I don’t like my attorney! I figured since you were all attorneys, you could refund the money that I overpaid the mortgage company, and then you and my attorney can get together and get the money back from them.

Me: ??!!! [Pause]. Ma’am …I ... we’re ... we're not going to do that. Listen, I’ve got other lines on hold that I have to attend to, and there’s really nothing I can do for you. I’ve got to get going.

Caller: Can you refer me to another attorney who would be willing to do that for me?

Me: Ma’am, I don’t know of any. I’ve gotta run. Take care and good luck.

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