Friday, April 03, 2009

Looking at my desk: Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

I took over a PI case recently for a friend who's taken a new job and couldn't keep working on this relatively small matter.

The carrier wants to settle, he says (so, too, says the carrier's attorney). But someone needs to make sense of the tangled medical and figure out what the case is really worth. That would be me, presumably.

In this brave new world, the carrier subpoenaed all the medical records electronically. I obtained the secret password from my friend and downloaded all the giant .pdf files containing my new client's records with various medical providers.

Now I know the kids can somehow look at this stuff on the screen and get an adequate handle on what's going on. I have to print out the pages. I bought an extra ink cartridge and spent some time this week printing all the stuff out.

So far, though, it seems like my new client has a very involved medical history, and there are records of preexisting conditions and prior injuries going back a decade or more... and not one darn page in the bunch (that I've found so far, at least) about the injury which gives rise to this case. I need to spend a lot more time with this.

* * * * * * * * * *
I have a coverage case that's up next week in Federal Court. I'm just coming into a case that's been going on for a year or more; I'll be part of the third group of attorneys coming in to represent the client.

Third group? In a case that's been pending in the Federal Court for awhile?

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

That pile of paper isn't actually on my desk yet... the second attorney is holding the file until the last fee check clears.

If I hadn't worked for this client before -- and had a good experience -- I wouldn't touch this case with a 10 foot pole.

* * * * * * * * * *
I have another matter I'm reviewing for a prospective client. I wrote about her initial call -- our very long initial conversation. She somehow found me on the Internet... and I wasn't entirely happy about it. Still, as I wrote at the time, sometimes just giving people a respectful hearing is the best service you can provide. We are, after all, attorneys and counselors.

I never expected her to follow up with the promised documents.

But... 10 days later... just when I'd about forgotten about the call... what pops up but multiple emails, each with multiple attachments?

She waited two years before calling a lawyer... she says... (who knows? I might be attorney no. 10 or 15....) then waits 10 more days to follow up on documents.... Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

* * * * * * * * * *
The task I'm avoiding at this very moment is proofreading a brief for another colleague in a case in which I arguably retain a small particle of professional responsibility (and also an arguable potential financial interest). (It's a long story... but the kind of thing that happens all the time in solo practice.)

Anyway, I read the first draft, stopping at page five, shooting off an email threatening to strangle the young lawyer who'd drafted the paper. When I calmed down, I sent him some citations trying to guide him back into the track.

And he says he 'gets it.' But that's what he said before he sent me the first draft. So... I'm kind of afraid to see the latest one. Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!

* * * * * * * * * *
Then there are two other matters, both from the same group of lawyers. (Generally, I prefer lawyers as clients... I tell people I "don't do retail"... but these matters are testing my preference to the breaking point. I can't comment much about these matters without potentially identifying them... but in both cases I'm going to have to spin straw into gold in order to achieve any kind of a good result.

I don't like the odds... and I've been v..e..r..y careful to communicate just how problematic these two matters are... nothing short of the direct intervention of St. Jude may help in these cases... but my lawyer-clients are, so far, willing to pay for my troubles despite my full disclosures.

Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i'm afraid i'd be the most leery of that last one! sorry...

smiles, bee

landgirl said...

Oh, Cur, busy is good, right?

Patti said...

Sounds like you have a lot going on, Mr. Curm.

I am trying to remember where "Warning! Warning! Danger, Will Robinson!" comes from, but all I can think of is Star Trek.

Shel said...

You need a cheap paralegal.

Shelby said...

yeah - you need a cheap paralegal. I'm cheap. apparently. I got a whopping $38 raise this year.

for working my buttox off. hate to see what I gotta do for $39.

well, at least I have a job.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Patti, it comes from the ancient series 'Lost In Space' where the awful red-haired Will Robinson got into trouble. He should have been ejected immediately!