Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What a Joke!?

Lawyer jokes are often trueQ: What do you have when a lawyer is buried up to his neck in wet cement? 
A: Not enough cement. 
Q: Did you hear they just released a new Barbie doll called "Divorced Barbie"?
A: Yeah, it comes with half of Ken's things and alimony.
Q: What's the problem with lawyer jokes?
A: Lawyer's don't think they're funny, and no one else thinks they're jokes.
Q: How many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Fifty four. Eight to argue, one to get a continuance, one to object, one to demur, two to research precedents, one to dictate a letter, one to stipulate, five to turn in their time cards, one to depose, one to write interrogatories, two to settle, one to order a secretary to change the bulb, and twenty-eight to bill for professional services.
Q: Where can you find a good lawyer?
A: In the cemetery.
Q: Where can you find a good lawyer?
A: At the city morgue.
Q: What do you call 100 skydiving lawyers?
A:  Skeet.

The thing with lawyer jokes is that there are so many of them.  The problem with that is that each time you tell a lawyer joke or hear one, your perception of the legal field diminishes a whole lot.  The thing is that I know lots of attorneys who are hard-working stiffs who put in over 100 hours a week for their clients.  On the other hand, I know people who act like attorneys who couldn't find their way out of a wet paper sack and I gotta wonder how in blazes they made it out of law school.  Whether the attorney is a hard worker bee or a slough, it's the jerks that make it hard for the good ones to get from under the load of lawyer jokes.

The reason I'm writing this post is because the other day we had a guy come into our law library who had paid his attorney thousands of dollars to do his case only to find out at the first hearing that the shyster had done nothing - had filed nothing, had served nothing, had basically taken the money and went on a shopping spree and I gotta say that really gets my blood boiling because I hate it when people get taken for a ride.

As a Law Librarian, though, what I suggested is first, contact the state bar association and file a complaint (in this case the California Bar Association at www.calbar.org).  Knowing how slowly the Bar acts (and the fact that often times, the Bar does nothing at all against these bums), I also suggested he take a look at California Practice Guide (Rutter Guide) Professional Responsibility and Legal Malpractice: Liability, prevention, litigation, insurance by Ronald E. Mallen.  Another older resource that deals with dealing with unsavory attorneys is called Mad at Your Lawyer (Nolo Press) by Tanya Starnes.  Finally, I found a pretty good article published at nolo.com that provides helpful advice for dealing with a deadbeat attorney called What to Do when You're Mad at Your Attorney.

So, if ever you're in a situation where you've been misused by an (or your) attorney, don't just stand there and take it.  Get on over to your local county law library and get smart on what you can do to get satisfaction because there's nothing a smartypants attorney hates more than someone who knows more than them.