For lawyers and clients alike the following passage may
interest and amuse you:
All of the information below was taken from "The
Bluffer's Guide to Law" by Martin Vernon, Ravette Publishing 1997.
The book costs about £4 and is a very funny, witty and inciteful guide
to law. Click the link above to buy it.
Clients and their problems come in different shapes and sizes.
Some clients can be unsporting and bring in cases which overlap more than
one area of law; this can be confusing but the difficulty will often be
overcome by the word 'focussing'. In giving advice, focus on the main problem
which will be the only one you can remember anything about. By constantly
talking of this focus you may distract them from other areas in which you
are less certain.
It is helpful to know that private (as opposed to business)
clients tend to fall into well defined anthropological or sociological categories
some of which are summarised as follows:
Believes the lawyer's purpose in life is to overcharge for inadequate
advice. Checks watch on arrival and departure. Constantly tries to catch
the lawyer out. Insists on every sub-clause being explained in enormous
detail and then queries any time charged for this process. Challenges any
advice given by quoting contrary view of anonymous legally qualified friend.
Scrutinises bill with fanaticism. Incapable of being satisfied. Advice:
avoid if possible.
Smiles vacantly at whatever advice is given. Expects the lawyer to decide
everything. Incapable of decisive thought. Has the listening power of a
dead parrot. Responds to all questions "I'll leave it all to you to decide,
after all you know best". Tends to forget all advice given once things go
wrong. Advice: watch your back at all times.
Weeps at first interview. Permanently downtrodden by vagaries of life. Occasionally
lightens gloom with brave, watery smile. Needs permanent injection of backbone
but resists all lawyer's efforts to strengthen resolve. Advice: buy more
Spends life bullying others and is not going to stop now. Demands action,
rejects unpalatable advice. "Now you look here, I'm paying you to do this..."
Needs to be shouted down, may respect lawyer for it, but more likely to
offer violence and move elsewhere. Usually married to 'emotional' wife.
Advice: for lawyers who like a challenge.
Believes letters are for cowards. Has motto: "If it moves, sue it." Once
won a case (more by luck than merit) and believes the world is now his/her
legal oyster. Has had sixteen previous firms of lawyers and is suing all
of them. Flatters your ego to persuade you to take latest case and then
reveals true colours. Advice: check indemnity insurance policy.
Seeks to draw lawyer into web of intrigue. Cannot understand concepts of
integrity or duty to court. Tells lawyer everything he intends to conceal
from the court and is astounded at any reluctance to become co-plotter.
Subscribes to conspiracy theory of life, and believes the bench is as bent
as he is. Advice: send down the road to your least favourite competitor.
Develops crush on lawyer. Displays similar tendencies with doctor and vicar.
Writes on scented notepaper, sends presents and suggests home consultations.
Requires sole attention of object of desire. Rings frequently. Seeks help
with completing forms, calling the plumber and changing the fuse. Advice:
keep at arm's length (or seek a large legacy).
Arrives shortly after an unfortunate aroma. Carries worldly possessions
in a plastic bag. Ricochets from lawyer to doctor to social services to
citizens advice bureau. Prone to abandoning empty wine bottles in the reception
area. Bounced as often as a Wimbledon tennis ball. Advice: send largest
trainee solicitor to reception office to sort out.
Requires lawyer to absorb entire life history before giving the simplest
advice. Resists all attempts to short circuit recitation of irrelevant facts.
Obsessive as to detail. Encyclopędic knowledge of facts of the case. Corrects
lawyer's minutest error. Client's tedium is matched only by indignation
at the delivery of bill based on time spent. Advice: delegate to eager trainee
to take statement.
Responds promptly to all communications. Listens to advice and does what
is told. Anticipates requests for information by producing precise typewritten
lists. Understands explanations. Displays appreciation for efforts. Pays
bill promptly and sends whisky or flowers to emphasize thanks. Advice: treasure,
another may not pass your way again.
Available from Amazon by clicking the following link - The
Bluffer's Guide to Law
Clients who didn't find that very amusing may take comfort in the lawyer
jokes available on the legal humour
page of Expert Law.