When a Lawyer Hires a Lawyer

I was wondering the other day what it would be like to come into my office as a client.  Many people have sat across the desk from me in the client chairs looking to me to solve their legal problems.  What are they thinking?  I got a view from the client’s chair myself when I had to hire my own attorney recently in connection with my mother’s estate.  The experience was eye opening, to say the least.

I called my attorney no fewer than five times over the past five months and never received a return telephone call.  I’d call his office, only to be put in touch with his trusty assistant, Janice, who sitting directly outside of his office would tell me in her oh-so-caring voice, “I’ll see if he’s in,” and promptly put me on hold.  As far as I know, the lawyer didn’t have a trap door under his desk from which he could escape.  And he only had one door to his office and there was no side door so he couldn’t sneak out without Janice noticing him.

Inevitably, Janice would return to the telephone and provide any one of a number of reasons why my lawyer, was unable to come to the telephone.  Depending on the day, he was (a) in a meeting, (b) on the telephone, (c) on a telephone conference call, (d) at breakfast, (e) at lunch or (f) simply not available.  Interestingly, Janice would alternate reasons that Alan couldn’t take the call in the same order each time I called.  I always wondered whether she kept a running list of excuses and ticked them off as she took various telephone calls.

At first I thought up various excuses as to why he wasn’t returning my calls.  But the more excuses I made for him, the worse I felt about him and wondered what horror had beset my case.  And the longer I went without hearing from him, the more I wanted to do something about it, like maybe refusing to pay his bill.  To be continued.