Monday, January 31, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Attorneys Cannot Take Your Phone Call

10.  On Another Call
Most law firms these days are an environment that involves multi-tasking, multiple telephone lines, multiple attorneys, secretaries, and believe it or not more than one client.  If you call your attorney and the secretary or assistant that answers says, “The attorney is on another line,” she or he probably is.  As you will read on and find out, the ole on the “Other line Excuse” is not the best one and is hardly ever used in jest.
 9.  Meeting with Other Clients
As stated before ATTORNEYS TEND TO HAVE MORE THAN ONE CLIENT!!! Sorry for the caps but they do help get the point across.  When you call and the secretary says, “She is with another client. Can I take a message?”  Your answer should be “Yes”.  This is the best way to get your message to the attorney. 

8. Lunch:
Yes they eat too.  I know! Right, who would have thought that hell spawn need a sandwich around noon every day.  Usually during lunch is a good time for you to call, but a bad time for an attorney to take a call.  So that is why you should utilize the answering machine, simply leave a message, and to your amazement around 1 to 1:30 you will get a call back.  It’s sort of like planting a tiny seed that grows into a beautiful phone call plant, all in under an hour.  No water or sunlight required. 

7. Vacation:
Contrary to popular opinion, attorneys are human and do require a little R and R from time to time.  Although many people view an attorney’s vacation as a personal gift from the client to the attorney, an attorney works hard for the money, and you would be surprised to see how difficult it is for them to get away, even for a weekend!! When an attorney takes time off, you can count on it that they leave a knowledgeable staff and attorneys on call to step in, in the event of an emergency.

6. Hasn’t Made it Yet:
Attorneys need sleep.  Their job is mentally taxing, and often they are up until 2 in the morning working on YOUR case.  That is why when you call at 8:00, 8:15, 8:17, 8:20, 8:43, and finally again at 9:00 AM.  You will commonly find they have not yet arrived.  This is because they like their sleep.  It helps them concentrate through their overly stressful day (you know tweeting and scrabble).  Trust the secretary, assistant, answering service (although I have my own reservations), or voice mail to promptly and accurately relay your message.  If it is an emergency it is your job to speak up so the attorney can prioritize your case. 

5.  Tweeting:
Chirp, Chirp goes the little bird, Beep, Beep goes the Road Runner, and Tweet, Tweet goes the attorney.  Twitter has become a technological wonder for the legal field.  Tweeting as an attorney allows for an all points bulletin to go out to all their clients, who, BTW, should be following their attorney.  You can receive an update on office closings, important legal changes in our state or government, a cheerful holiday best wishes, or even comment on an attorneys scrabble frequency.  So if an attorney can’t catch the phone, you have called all day, left fifty messages, and now you are scribbling out a letter to fire your attorney and replace them with a guy whose number you got from the side of a cab, I suggest checking their latest tweet before overreacting.  Your attorney could have closed the office due to an untimely ice storm, holiday, or they even could be vacationing in Tahiti.
4. Scrabble (Words with Friends):
Ever wonder what an attorney is doing on their smart phone while you’re in a consultation or sitting in the witness chair in court.  Well the simple answer is, playing SCRABBLE, often with other attorneys.  It can be addictive but you should be reassured that scrabble is partially responsible for your attorneys mastery of the English language.  “So how does this have anything to do with not taking my phone call?” You ask.  Scrabble is a two handed left brain activity that should not be mixed with answering the phone or trying to assist a client with their case.  Just let them lay down their tiles, score on a 48 pt word, and call you back without the distraction.  Hopefully you can get your answers before the other player lays down and passes the ball back to your attorney.  Sure signs that your attorney is playing scrabble while on the phone with you are: shouting out point values when you say a big word, clicking sounds in the background, and long pauses followed by an “Ah ha” or a “Sweet”.
3. Hair Court:

Not all attorneys have hair, but those that do, need to get a little trim, dye, perm, highlight, wash, style, and so on.  It is very important for your attorney to maintain a professional look and this cannot be achieved without the glorious hands of an accomplished stylist.  So if you call and the secretary bends the truth a bit about being in court, you can rest assure that they are in a kind of court, Hair Court!  It is there that they put on their best hair so they can feel confident and not vagrant in the courtroom.  This is a call that you should be proud was not answered, your attorney is bettering themselves through the use of high dollar hair products and a set of hands that are a cross between an open heart surgeon’s and a topiarist’s. 

2. Because you need a Counselor of a Different Sort:
There are several things that an attorney can help you with, and many of these things can be handled in 5 to 10 minutes on the phone, but occasionally an attorney will not take a call.  Why you ask?  Mostly it is because they know where your case is and what the question will be. After all that is their job, Right?  Attorneys are commonly mistaken for psychiatrists, best friends, someone you can spill your guts out to and feel better about yourself.  The attorney has become the Sin Eater of the modern age, but they cannot absolve you for your sins and were never ordained by the Catholic Church to perform exorcisms.  Although I would like to meet the attorney that moonlights as an exorcist, which sounds like a plot to a movie starring Keanu Reeves. 
1.  Having Drinks with other Attorneys (Who also aren’t taking calls):
This is a rare occurrence I assure you (with my fingers crossed).  You wonder why the office is closed at 4:00, “Hmm the answering machine says they don’t close until 5. Where could they be?”  There’s no need to fear, they are with all the other attorneys, having a bit of happy hour cheer at the local tavern.  It is a time for attorneys to gather, converse, and then with a bit of spirit (no pun intended) resolve your case.  It is not like when attorneys come together they stop being attorneys, they are sophisticated, they practice moderation, and almost never dance on the bar. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

CyberWorld Estate Planning

What to do with my Facebook or twitter account after I die has never been a priority to me.  Surely it does not keep the rest of the population up at night, but let’s face it, social networking is something that has become so prevalent that it is almost like a piece of your life could be preserved in the heaven or hell of cyberspace.  What do you want to do with your page, all your pictures, the 369 friends that you don’t ever contact but still send a “Happy Birthday” once a year.  Now that you are dead that doesn’t really matter all that much, but to your loved ones, human friends, family, and Facebook friends they are left with a difficult situation.  First off if you are a privacy and security buff then there is no way they are going to hack into your account and delete your profile.  That is why Estate Planning in a cyber world can be an overlooked but crucial step in whole of things.  This is a brand new market, and in all honesty, an essential part of every will.
A typical computer user has around 3 or 4 widely used passwords, security questions, and usernames.  This means that unless someone knows the sites you belong to, your email addresses, the banks you login to, and the passwords in your list, they are hopeless to try and find and close out all your online activities.  Think of it like this, when you die, you don’t want someone to just let you dog starve to death because you have a lock on your gate.  We need to make sure someone can open that lock and give Fido a bone and a new home.
For all potential clients, estate planning should be a priority.  Estate planning is not just for the elderly who are worried about dividing their assets prior to death, estate planning is for everyone, young and old.  So in conjunction with everything else you need to provide you attorney with, compile a list of social networks, online banking site, auto bill pay sites, or any other websites they visit, login to, pay money, etc.  I suggest you set a piece of paper next to your computer, and for two weeks jot down all the sites you visit and all of the usernames and passwords.  After you compile the list, type it up, choose a responsible, technologically savvy personal representative, and add specific directions for each site.  In addition to computer literacy make sure your personal representative should is trustworthy and willing to do your bidding while you are in the afterlife.  Who knows, you may want someone to continue tweeting as a ghost writer, or perhaps put in a DNR on your Facebook, or even send an eerie posthumous message to your mother.