Dear prospective client who cold-called me:
Yes, I turned you down rather abruptly. I'm sorry if you were offended. But I had work to do, and wanted to get home to see my family.
Here's why I turned you down:
1. You were calling the day before an important hearing seeking to hire a lawyer to advise you about the hearing.
2. You were currently pro se, meaning that either (a) you lacked money to pay for a lawyer, or didn't want to pay what lawyers would charge to handle your case, or (b) you were unable to convince a lawyer that your case had merit, or (c) you believed — almost certainly incorrectly — that you knew better about how to handle your case than the lawyers you consulted.
3. You wanted me to step into a lawsuit in which you were suing a prior lawyer for malpractice.
See, unless you are coming to the table with so much cash-up-front that you make it worth the risk, that's a clear no-go for me. It's not that I won't sue other lawyers. I will. My reluctance has nothing to do with they're-all-in-it-together tribalism. My reluctance springs from the fact that someone who is suing his last attorney pro se is highly likely to wind up suing me pro se if he doesn't like the result of my representation. My reluctance springs from the fact that there's no way I can get ready to do a competent job at a complex hearing in a civil case by tomorrow. My reluctance springs from the fact that your failure to call me until the day before the hearing suggests either (a) many other lawyers have already turned you down, or (b) you have extremely bad judgment and/or self-discipline.
Why would I take on a case where I can't possibly be adequately prepared to represent someone with a penchant for suing lawyers who don't deliver the results you want?
It's possible that I might have given you more time — and possibly even reviewed some documents to evaluate the possibility of taking your case — if you had (a) called much earlier in the game, and (b) been able to articulate why you sued in pro se in the first place, and (c) been able to explain your case in a few sentences, as I've recommended before.
But life is too short, my day is too long, and I can't give away big chunks of time to everyone who calls, or else I'll go broke and/or never see my family.
Sorry if you feel disrespected.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017
- I write letters - June 1st, 2017