Never Underestimate the Power


…of a pissed-off writer.

That was a Facebook status yesterday. And today, I’m going to tell you why this is a bad idea.

My dad died in 2001. In April 2005, we discovered that his widow was prepared to sell the family farm. OUR family farm, not hers; not even my dad’s, although he’d acquired it several years before his death. Lawyers were obtained by both sides – which segued into three or four sides, or more, before it was all over.

Of course, it wasn’t all over.

Both/all sides agreed on most points; negotiations continued, well beyond the bounds of a normal time frame, because one law firm involved seemed to have forgotten how to use the telephone. Or email.

I began working with my current attorney’s firm in February 2008. It took until November 2011 before the other side(s) signed the paperwork and the suit was filed. The St. Louis County Probate Court said it would be signed by a judge within a few days.

That turned into a few weeks. Then months. Nothing but excuses from the court.

Finally, I called the court myself and said I was prepared to file a complaint. The next day, the judge signed and the order was finalized. That was in June 2012.

Now, it’s March. 2013. Initial disbursements were made, others were to be forthcoming in the next 30 days; a few other details could possibly have taken a couple months. In fact, we were informed in December that QC deeds had been signed involving the farm itself, but to date nothing has been finalized or filed.

Besides all this, here’s why I am totally ticked off beyond reason:

I’ve spoken with my attorney every couple weeks from December through January. He said he wanted to wrap this up before he went on his two-week skiing vacation. He did not. He was back in the office by early February and has not taken a single one of my phone calls. Or responded to email. Or to messages. Oddly enough, according to one girl who answered the phone, he has no voicemail.

The excuse I heard most often, throughout this eight-year ordeal, is that he has “no information” for me and so simply ignored my calls. Buy a clue: GET the information!

Funny how an attorney who gripes about opposing counsel returning calls can’t manage to do so himself.

Oh, and here’s a clue, Eric – you don’t even have to buy it, I’ll throw it in for free. Considering that I paid you over $30K and did a lot of research and such myself, not to mention a big damn waste of time trying to get you to finish a job, I only think it’s fair that I let you in on something:

Having your receptionist answer the phone and responding “yes” to my question of “Is Eric in?” and then coming back to the phone to ask my name, only to tell me that “Oops, he must have stepped away from his desk,” is not fooling anyone. It only makes you unprofessional, as well as laughable. Same thing with having her tell me that telling me that you “don’t have voicemail.”

Obviously, you are incapable of completing a task, timely manner notwithstanding. There really should be a binding clause somewhere that states you don’t get paid AT ALL until the case is over, settled, kaput. One more thing: I’d be very careful casting stones against opposing counsel; those things have a way of coming back to bite you in the butt. And I really hope it does.

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6 comments on “Never Underestimate the Power

  1. As usual, Robin, incompetence knows no boundaries. Fire the sucker, don’t pay him a cent for incompetence, and be aware, investigate the possibility that a ‘not so good’ deal is being made with the “other” side. Dragging cases out to collect astronomical legal fees is almost standard practice.

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  2. Sharon says:

    This sounds like you should absolutely complain to the Bar in the state this occurred. And ask for your fees back, since he did nothing.

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  3. Holy Moly! You go, girl! I’m sorry you have had to deal with all this, Robin. A death in the family can bring about the vilest, most horrific situations. I agree with the above posters – Fire the lawyer, complain to the Bar and one more thing – Write about it in a novel. When the novel becomes a best seller and you rake in the royalties – living well will be sweet revenge.

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  4. You are all correct – but no prize, sorry! lol

    I looked at my phone, and I haven’t spoken with this guy in TWO MONTHS. I went further – FOURTEEN messages left, on average one every 4.5 days.

    Now, I’m not the best at returning phone calls, but I figure 48 hours is pretty darn good and a reasonable expectation.

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  5. Your lawyer sounds like a douche. Can you fire him and get another one? It’s probably really far into the process to do so. Whatever you decide, good luck!!! We’re rooting for you 🙂

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    • Thanks, Michelle! Yesterday I emailed the opposition and she responded within two hours – and NOT with some canned “I can’t talk to you” garbage. She brought me up-to-date and answered my questions. Just a matter of a few weeks now – I base that on her mention “within the week” which, in lawyer-speak, usually means “within the month or longer!”

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