Cold-Call Rule of Thumb

Law Practice


If you quickly say, "I'm sorry, I don't think my firm can handle this case, but I wish you the best of luck, goodbye," the instant you hear any of the following words or phrases from a cold-call potential client:

* Implanted
* Tapped my phones
* Gangstalking

. . . . then there is a very negligible chance that you will miss an awesome case, but that chance will be more than made up for by the many hours of your life you will get back.

You're welcome.

(Attorney readers are invited to add more words and phrases.)

Last 5 posts by Ken White



  1. Jag  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:42 pm

    *Government conspiracy
    *My fifth lawyer on this case
    *I do it pro se, you just write the briefs

  2. Nathan  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:42 pm

    I find that merely mentioning my hourly rate ends the call pretty quickly.

  3. Scott Jacobs  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:44 pm

    The first should be "CIA/NSA"…

  4. Ken  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:48 pm

    I find that merely mentioning my hourly rate ends the call pretty quickly.

    Dude. That's . . . that's like asking the girl if she's into anal only three sentences into the conversation with her.

  5. Professor Coldheart  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:49 pm

    I know I'll regret this, but: "gangstalking"?

  6. Ken  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:51 pm

    Google it. Basically: there is a vast conspiracy of people stalking me to make me do something or deter me from doing something. I saw a yellow car twice today? Gangstalking. Someone drove past my house every day? Gangstalker. I saw the guy from the record store at the fish market? Gangstalking. THEY'RE ALL IN ON IT.

    There's a very active community online that insists that it's real.

  7. TJIC  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:52 pm

    …and yet you still take my calls!

  8. Andrew  •  Sep 7, 2011 @2:58 pm

    I had not heard of gangstalking before. That's just bizarre.

  9. Dan  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:09 pm

    Patent attorney cold call red flags I have personally encountered:

    * I filed my own provisional application 11 1/2 months ago
    * I have worked with [scammy invention submission entity]
    * [Huge company] stole my unpatented invention for [long-standing ubiquitous product] and I want to sue

  10. Scott Jacobs  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:09 pm

    I will say however, Ken, with regards to gangstalking, there does seem to be a group out there who's trying to do that very thing to several bloggers…

    Though it is an aberration, an outlier from the norm – the people responsible are all from that douchpatrol known as anon.

  11. eddie  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:46 pm

    Thank you ever so much for introducing me to the term "gangstalking", because it led me to read the second-place definition for it on Urban Dictionary.

    "Everything is done covertly, and with a sophisticated real time dispatching system to organize the criminals' harassments and attacks, often in the hundreds to thousands of criminals participating as a coordinated mob at any given time while the criminals due their normal routines of work, shopping, commuting to and from work, leisure, etc."

    There's more. Go read the whole thing.

  12. Nathan  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:46 pm

    It's typical of Paranoid Type schizophrenia, where the individual has a poorly-functioning anterior cingulate cortex, so they have a hard time telling relevant patterns apart from irrelevant patterns. Every detectable pattern, even simple happenstance, is given the same weight by the brain as the really important patterns.

    [Insert jab at group of choice here.]

  13. Scott Jacobs  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:47 pm

    Not always Nathan. Not always.

  14. SPQR  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:50 pm

    "I already have a trial date for "

  15. eddie  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:50 pm

    I gotta say, gangstalking sounds fun. Where can I sign up?

    I bet the wife and kids would just love to get coded messages to drive by someone's house a dozen times in a row and stare at them through the windows. Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. And then go bowling!

  16. A leap at the wheel  •  Sep 7, 2011 @3:58 pm

    These aren't mine from personal experience, but here's a few more patent ones:
    "Unknown, advanced metal"
    "The pyramids"
    "It overcomes [any particular] law [of nature]"

  17. Ken  •  Sep 7, 2011 @4:10 pm

    Scott, the gangstalking descriptions you will find out there differ from group activities like that of anon. The key, as Nathan suggests, is the putative victim's special insight into how seemingly innocuous things and circumstances are done for unclear malevolent motives.

  18. Scott Jacobs  •  Sep 7, 2011 @4:38 pm


    Then I withdraw my objection, your Honor.

  19. Bob  •  Sep 7, 2011 @6:03 pm

    "I need help with the writ of habeas corpus that I have already filed."

  20. Damian P.  •  Sep 7, 2011 @7:02 pm

    "I've got a lawyer but he isn't doing anything for me" is a good warning sign.

  21. Doug  •  Sep 7, 2011 @7:22 pm

    "Its the best case you will ever have".

  22. Vice Magnet  •  Sep 7, 2011 @7:52 pm

    You know, this strategy also works in bars. For example, a few months ago this woman sat next to me and bummed a drink. No big deal, until she began unloading on me about how her husband was trying to kill her, had implanted a chip in her, had this chip able to control her pacemaker, and would I please take her with me away from this place. I excused myself to the bathroom and RAN to my car.

    Oddly enough I saw her the next week. I didn't have to buy her a drink and she was telling her story to the next guy. But I haven't seen her since. I just hope her husband didn't push the red button!

  23. Norm Pattis  •  Sep 8, 2011 @5:13 am

    My rights have been violated. The case is a slam dunk You will make millions.

  24. marco73  •  Sep 8, 2011 @5:22 am

    "The stupid judge wants some sort of paperwork on the last 2 lawyers that I'm suing today, so…"

  25. Damian P.  •  Sep 8, 2011 @5:40 am

    Another warning sign, here in Canada, is when a potential client rants and raves about his rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution are being violated.

  26. O.H. Krill  •  Sep 8, 2011 @5:52 am

    "How did I get your name? Oh, [random lawyer I have never heard of] referred me to you."

  27. Tam  •  Sep 8, 2011 @6:21 am

    re: Gangstalking.

    Wow. Just wow.

    Thank god for the internets. Just think: Fifteen years ago only shrinks knew how many batshit crazy people are actually walking (and driving!) our streets. Now they all have websites!

  28. mojo  •  Sep 8, 2011 @7:51 am

    "The bees! The bees!!"

  29. Laura K  •  Sep 8, 2011 @8:35 am

    Is it okay for a Humanities major to say here that these posts remind me so much of responses I used to get to my Tutoring Advertisements? Because oh, they do, they really, really do…

  30. Rich  •  Sep 8, 2011 @9:50 am

    I need a lawyer to defend me from my last lawyer's lawsuit for her legal fees, which were crazy high!!!!11!!

  31. ElamBend  •  Sep 8, 2011 @1:34 pm

    [Huge company] stole my unpatented invention for [long-standing ubiquitous product] and I want to sue

    – this is how I prank call IP lawyers.

    As for gangstalking, back in my craven college days some acquaintances and I knew a particular person had paranoid tendencies. Empathetic citizens that we were, we started talking into our sleeves whenever he was around. My guilt for doing that is only partially alleviated by the fact that the guy was an arrogant prick. I still talk into my sleeve when I meet crazy people though.

  32. Richard Hershberger  •  Sep 9, 2011 @7:54 am


    “I already have a trial date for “

    My friend the criminal defense attorney happily takes these cases,eve if the trial date is very very soon. Cash up front, of course.

  33. Goober  •  Sep 9, 2011 @8:02 am

    You stay classy, ElamBend.

  34. Linus  •  Sep 9, 2011 @11:18 am

    Yeah, I love the "it's a million-dollar case" phrase, when it's said at the very beginning of the call, before they've told me anything about it.

    Also, re: the case they want you to take over, "the judge had it out for me", "the judge hated me", "the judge lied about me", etc. I'm not saying judges are saints (I mean, I would reconsider if I heard the judge were Judith Raub Eiler ), but this usually means the caller is an asshole, a crazy, or a crazy asshole.

  35. SeanD  •  Sep 12, 2011 @4:19 pm


  36. Erica  •  Sep 14, 2011 @8:40 am

    "I know this sounds like its last minute…" paired with "…trial is tomorrow"