An Open Letter

Dear Clients and Potential Clients Who Call My Office:

1) I am a lawyer, not a magician. I don’t solve problems with a flick of my magic wand.

2) Since I’m not a magician, these things take time. This means do NOT wait until the day before you have to go to court to call my office.

3) Yes, my office provides free legal services. We do not provide them TO EVERYBODY. We do not even provide them TO EVERYBODY WHO CALLS US WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR OUR SERVICES. So please don’t be offended when I tell you that we can’t take your case.

4) There are no "simple" litigation matters, and if I tell you that your case is too complicated for our office to take on because we are short staffed, don’t tell me that it’s simple because some other attorney (who didn’t take your case) told you it was.

5) It was nice that you went to a person who works in the courthouse who is not a lawyer, but just because they told you that a lawyer could help you with a problem doesn’t mean that I can help you.

6) The fact that you believe you have a strong case means nothing to me. I need evidence, I need facts, and I need you to tell me your full name and address before I’m going to give you a penny’s worth of advice. Oh, and if you think your case is a slam dunk, then go ahead and try it yourself, but I’m not required to take it.

7) When somebody in our office tells you something you don’t want to hear, do not call our office again the next day hoping to get another attorney and another answer.

8) When I tell you that we don’t handle certain cases because they require a specific expertise, please understand. Please do not demand to know why we won’t take your case because you are eligible for our services. See no. 3.

9) Please don’t show up without an appointment. Especially not at lunchtime.

10) Please don’t expect me to write a will that leaves money to your wayward child "so long as s/he learns to be responsible." Accept your kid for who they are, and decide whether or not to leave them anything as such.

Anyone else got anything else to add? I just got yet another phone call in which the caller tried to make me feel guilty for not taking her case, even though it’s not an area of law I practice and I’m also swamped with cases.

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