Ah, I thought this would get your attention! Ever wonder why court cases, especially civil ones, take so very long to wend their way through the legal system? Well, I’m going to tell you.
This is a class, apparently required by all law schools, in which potential attorneys learn how to NOT return calls or give their clients updates, and how to train the receptionist to make excuses.
You know how when you call your lawyer and the receptionist says he’s in a meeting – but only AFTER she’s asked your name? Yep. Chances are your lawyer passed Telephone 101 with flying colors.
Or how about when you’ve heard absolutely nothing from the law office for two weeks, in spite of a vague promise to “keep you informed”, and you KNOW there was a conference call at the beginning of that period? Yep, again, your lawyer probably got an “A” in Telephone 101.
Pretending to be Tough 201
This is a slightly more advanced class for attorneys-to-be. This is where they learn how to bluff, such as when your lawyer tells you that he gave opposing counsel until “today” to respond. What it really means is that yes, he probably said “today” – but prefaced it with “we’d sure like to hear from you by” and certainly did NOT end it with “or else!”
Time Management 203
This is a very important class. This includes billable hours, of course, but also teaches law students how to really tell time. For instance, when you’re waiting for important papers to be signed, and your lawyer says he will have them to you within “twenty-four hours”, what he really means is that they MIGHT be on his secretary’s desk in twenty-four hours, but certainly will make it to your mailbox sometime in the next month.
This, naturally, is an elective class in law school and only opposing counsel has actually completed it. Repeat, YOUR attorney has high ethical standards and would never engage in speaking with a forked tongue. Unless, of course it will benefit you.
Strictly reserved for the “other guy”, this means, for example, that when an agreement has been reached it will still take six months to be drafted and signed. And that’s only if opposing counsel doesn’t change his mind and try to negotiate something else in the meantime.
So now you know how attorneys may operate. And perhaps this will help you adjust to your lawyer’s idiosyncrasies and apparent inability to close a case within, say, four years or so.