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People I Met Practicing Law

All Flash, No Cash

There was once a law firm with a small corporate department consisting of a law clerk and one senior corporate lawyer who I will call Carl.   The partners of the firm had tired of Carl’s antics so they hired a bright young corporate lawyer who I will call Martin. The idea was that if Martin was any good, they would tell Carl to shape up or ship out.

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People I Met Practicing Law

Hammers and Nails

I am not the handiest person in the world. In fact, my toolbox only has three tools in it, being a phone, a pen, and a cheque book. For this reason, I may not be the best person to be writing about hammers and nails. But I will anyway because I really want to use one of my favourite quotes.

Abraham Maslow wrote, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat everything as if it were a nail.”

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People I Met Practicing Law

On Being Easily Inconvenienced

I met more than a few lawyers who were ‘easily inconvenienced.’ For these individuals, any challenge, no matter how inconsequential it might have appeared to be to others, was a major problem. It was never a good time for their associates or assistants to take a vacation. Their work not being given top priority by an associate who reported to several lawyers – a catastrophe. Their shared assistant working for another lawyer at the exact moment that they wanted something done – a disaster. Staff members attending a half-day training session on new technology – a real problem. Funds for closing being delayed for an hour for whatever reason – the world was ending.

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People I Met Practicing Law

The Hat

My father had a rocky start to his career. There were many years at the outset of his working life when he did not make much money and struggled to pay his bills. When creditors would call, he would explain to them about the payment hat. He would tell them that once a month he turned his fedora upside down and put all of his monthly bills in the hat. He described how he would then mix the bills up and pull them out and pay them until the money ran out.

Finally, he would warn the creditors that if they kept calling him and annoying him, their invoices were not going into the hat.

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People I Met Practicing Law The Mentality and Attitudes of Lawyers

The Narcissist

There was once a law firm which had a particular department which experienced some turn-over in its associates. Lots of turn-over, actually.

The department in question was headed by a lawyer with a ‘strong personality.’ I am not qualified to give a psychological diagnosis of this lawyer, but if I were, I would probably say that this person was a narcissist. If I was being nice.

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People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode Seven: The Super Star

Let me tell you about a real person, whose real name is not Emily.

Emily is a superstar. She does it all and has been doing it all for an awfully long time.

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People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode Six: Tragically, Terminally, Toxic

I met Paul at my very first job as a lawyer. Paul was a commercial real estate lawyer. He was hard-working and extremely capable.  Paul thought quite a bit of himself and other people who he considered to be intelligent and diligent. However, Paul did not suffer fools gladly.

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People I Met Practicing Law

People I met Practicing Law Episode Five: The Good Lawyer

I was once hired by a dentist to help him disassociate from his partner. I will refer to my client as the “Good Dentist” and to his partner as the “Dentist from Hell.”

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People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode Four: The Jerks

Quite a few years ago, I really ticked off a lawyer at one of the major firms. 

It was the early 1990’s, someone had called a recession, and everyone had shown up.  This big firm lawyer was acting for a bank trying to put the squeeze on a delinquent debtor.  My client was the delinquent debtor.  The bank had screwed up.  They had given him 30 days notice to repay his operating line and bounced cheques that were within the credit limit the very same day that the notice was given.  That is a no-no.   

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People I Met Practicing Law

People I Met Practicing Law Episode Three: Zero Trust

Eleanor practiced family law.  She was pretty smart, and she knew all of the technical stuff cold.  What Eleanor was not that good at was the part about dealing with clients.  Especially vulnerable clients.  Such as people going through a separation or a divorce.