Friday, October 29, 2010

“. . . you will look Lawyerly.”

Judge Chamberlain Haller admonishes Vincent “Vinny” LaGuardia Gambini for not wearing the appropriate attire to court. This year, as last year, my wife and I will look lawyerly on All Hallow’s Eve. We are going to subject ourselves to the continuing and rapid degradation of Western Society. We are dressing up as Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and Birdgirl, his trusty legal sidekick.

We are going to the downtown area, getting a corner window seat at a busy intersection, and will watch the parade of party go-ers, clubbers, and costumed youth. We expect to comment, laugh, and look, “visually, with our eyes” at the amazing, clever, cute, and sordid. We will leave with more social distaste than we need. We will leave with more social conversation than can fill a public forum outside of Post Office sidewalks.

This display of First Amendment rights will be the most colorful (outside of a gay-rights parade in NYC), joyful (outside of African-American newscasters when President Obama was elected), and irreverent (outside of an Islam-excepted-moratorium-on-national-prayer-at-a-breakfast). And we’re going to watch the spectacle with front row seats . . . while looking lawyerly.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Reputation Proceeds Me

I received a call from a prospective client a few weeks ago. The person called on the second to last day of the statute of limitations (SOL). (A statute of limitation is a legal cutoff date that bars any action after that date.) He tells me of his problem, and his desire in the action, and of his previous experience with an attorney . . .

He had an attorney on the case for the last year. He had an attorney on the case for the entire time before the SOL. He had an attorney that would not return his calls. He had an attorney that too many people in need are familiar with. He had an attorney that gave the rest of us a bad name.

Will I neglect a case in the future? Probably. Will I make mistakes that do not serve my clients interest? Almost guaranteed. Will I leave my client wondering why attorneys are so unhelpful and so highly paid? I pray I never do.

Everything I do as a professional is an advertisement for my ability to serve others. If I'm late to my dentist appointment, or worse yet (depending of your view) drunk at a baseball game, I'm telling the world, "I can help you, although you can't rely on my word, and you can't count on my controlling myself."

You, attorney that has ignored your client; or taken advantage of them financially; or encouraged divorce to make a quick buck, your reputation "proceeds" me. And I'm fighting to renew the profession's reputation without having had a chance to display it.