Friday, January 28, 2011

Next HuffPo Article

I'm weighing what to do next week...
1. A post on crappy TOP's, which I plan to reverse the genders for
2. A post on what divorce lawyers should do, which I'd de-lawyer-speak from the Academy Bounds
3. A post on ffffffamily court that picks up where the post (on getting ready for court) left off

Gotta get some energy for it first. I'm seriously wiped out and need to re-group.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I'm Cold, and Distracted...January Blues

Too many different things going on for me - I feel like I'm being tugged in so many different directions. And it's January, ugh.

So I'm thinking about the next post I should do for HuffPo. What topic, whether I should keep doing lists, those are my main issues. And what about this blog? I'm feeling like I'm inside a black hole - have I lost my way? Then there's Client Relations - I'm getting back into it, after holiday distractions, but it's hard when I know the next few weeks are going to be so demanding. I feel so discouraged. It's almost overwhelming, trying to keep up my energy.

January has been dreadful. Jim's car got nailed in a hit-and-run. My new wheelchair already has 'issues' that haven't been resolved. The basement flooded because the plumbing and septic needed repairs. My car battery died. Then the ABS had to be replaced. My computer blew -- same damn issue as the other two Sony VAIO notebooks I had-- NEVER BUY A SONY COMPUTER!!!! Stem cell trials are still a zillion years away. And its going to be minus twenty outside tomorrow. I know I'm leaving something else out, and it's not just the obscenely high NY property taxes due this week, or how fat I'm feel and that I don't even care right now.

Yeah, I know, bitch bitch bitch.

I figure with so much crap happening in January, I'm getting it all out of the way and the rest of the year is going to be great.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crappy Lawyers - full text

Here it is, me bitching about the dabblers who make all divorce lawyers look really bad:

Divorce lawyers. Otherwise known as dirtbags, bottom-feeders, thieves, morons--go ahead, you name it, we're used to it. The tirades that often show up here on the Huffington Post, and on other web sites when the word 'divorce' is mentioned, are pretty intense. Yep, lots of people have horror stories and, whether it's justified or not, the matrimonial bar bears the brunt of the hostility resulting from divorce.

Think we don't feel the rancor? That we don't know why we're considered the "dregs of the legal profession," as someone commenting on my last post so kindly (uh-huh) put it? We're not quite that clueless, despite outward appearances and all our bravado. Fact is, the "dabblers"-- you know, the lawyers who are either very inexperienced or whose practice isn't at least 80% matrimonial--cause a great deal of the angst and anger. But hey, I know that sounds kind of defensive.

So here we go--the things divorce lawyers can do to earn their clients' fury (with attorney explanations in parentheses):

1. Miss deadlines. ("Give me a break, I forgot.")

2. Don't know the law. ("Geez Louise, you expect me to know everything?")

3. Make up facts. ("Everyone else does it. The judge never sanctions anybody.")

4. Don't bother with the billing. ("The retainer check should cover it. Besides, billing takes too long.")

5. Bill the hell out of the case. ("I was thinking about you while I was watching the play-offs.")

6. Nickel-and-dime the client to death with personal and general office expenses. Charge for things like taxis, train fare, meals, telephone charges, per-page faxing, secretarial overtime., just to name a few. ("I wouldn't have eaten any dinner--ever--if I weren't working on the case, or taken a cab home when I worked late, or bought another toner when the fax ran out of ink. And you're screwing up my weekend.")

7. Yell at the client. ("Come on, it's my normal speaking voice.")

8. Diss everyone in the case. The client's shrink. His/her parents. Opposing counsel. The law guardian. And, of course, the judge. ("They're all idiots anyway.")

9. Remind the client there are a lot of other cases that need to be handled. ("It's a matter of priorities, and you need to be put in your place. I'm very much in demand.")

10. Keep the client waiting unnecessarily for office appointments. ("I'm more important than any client; work with me here, it's an ego-thing.")

11. Let the client see the lawyer sneaking out for a sandwich when the appointment is supposed to be starting, then waltz back into the reception area with either (i) a brown paper bag; or (ii) a receipt that the lawyer ostentatiously slaps on the front desk. ("Like this needs justification? Get real, people.")

12. Ignore the FedEx packets a client sends. ("Huh? Hope no one tracks the delivery date.")

13. Whenever something's missing--and delivery to the lawyer's office has been confirmed-- blame the staff. ("Sor-ry, got too much stuff to look at as it is.")

14. Always have the secretary place the call to the client, instead of dialing directly. Wait a minute--is that the client calling again? ("Hell with it, I'm busy. All the time.")

15. Why waste time sending the client copies of anything? ("You'll find out eventually.")

16. Don't let the client settle the case, under any circumstances. ("It could ruin my 'pit-bull' rep.")

17. Keep the client out of the loop on what's going on in their case. ("Like I'm supposed to know, too?")

18. Forget to give opposing counsel (or file in court) important documents/information. ("Hmmm, must be somewhere on my desk or in my office. I think. Maybe.")

19. Tune out what the client is saying s/he wants to accomplish in the case. ("Like clients know anything, right?")

20. I saved the best for last: Have sex with the other lawyer. Or the client. ("Who can resist a screeching adversary or a vulnerable, stressed-out client? Hottest people on the planet.")

Think I've given angry clients out there whatever ammunition they need, assuming they even needed any, to continue to dump on the matrimonial bar? Nope. Because responsible, knowledgeable, experienced divorce lawyers don't behave this way.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Crappy Lawyers

This article of mine is front and center on Huffington Post Divorce today...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lust, Sex and Clients

Always a fun topic, especially given that it is a key element of my novel-in-progress, Client Relations.

My friends at have posted an article about the recent disbarment of a New Jersey lawyer who had sex with his divorce client.

What really frosted the NJ Disclipinary Board was the offending lawyer's enormous billing fraud stretching across years and law firms and, get this, that he was having sex with a client while she was considering reconciling with her husband. In other words, if she were in the midst of a brutal divorce war, where reconciliation was not even remotely on the horizon, it would have been perfectly okay for her lawyer to screw around with her. Assuming he wasn't billing her for his time spent when they were frolicking in bed, that is. Cripes, I knew I should have waived into the New Jersey bar - I had no idea it was so much fun over there, just across the state line.

The Academy (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) has an extremely thorough code of conduct for matrimonial lawyers (Bounds of Advocacy Section 3.4 This kind of crap is flat-out barred by the Academy: "A more intimate relationship may endanger both the client's welfare and the lawyer's objectivity."

So. What's really interesting to me about all these rules, ethical opinions, cases, stuff like that, is:
1. Generally, non-divorce lawyers can go at it with their clients as long as their professional judgment is unimpaired. Okay, that's crystal clear.
2. I haven't seen any specific cases or opinions where the lusty lawyer is a woman. Not even in journal articles that lead off with the lame, supposedly provocative, photos. Nope. It's always the male lawyer with the wingtips, and the quivering female client worshiping his diplomas on the wall. Excuse me? Women lawyers are fully capable of dominating male clients (and opponents), thank you very much. Power trips aren't gender-neutral.
3. Nothing prohibits good old-fashioned romance, without actual sex acts, between lawyers and clients. You know. When people don't expose their private parts for manipulation, like back in pre-pre-pre-Monica Lewinsky days. Kissing, hugging, touching non-genital areas - I guess that's all fair game for those who are so inclined.

If the lawyer and client 'laugh just a little too loud, stand just a little too close, stare just a little too long' (a la Something to Talk About), well, that's fine and dandy. No conflicts of interest, no impairment of judgment. Just a little distraction (hmmmm, maybe enough distraction to push a case through too quickly in order to make the client available for an all-out sexual affair). Put that together with a female tax lawyer representing a sexy real estate tycoon (wait a minute - isn't that an oxymoron?), and voila! Absolutely no Draconian fear of disbarment hanging about in the foreground.

Note: Since 1981, no client has ever been that appealing to me. No adversary or judge, either. And I know of no female attorney who has gotten herself in hot water for sleeping with her client. But I do know a few men - and not particularly attractive ones - who have. Hence all these rules - Thanks, guys, for making the rest of us look as bad as you are.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Civility for Thirty Minutes, Unless You're Online

President Obama's speech in Tuscon yesterday implored us to be more civil to each other. Civility as an ideal, but in reality, remembered for a moment before everyone moves on with their normal affairs. Be nice for the next 30 minutes or so, then forget it.

As for online civility? Are you kidding? The anonymity of Web 'discourse' pretty much invites people to be rude since they don't have to face their audience or even hear them. Palin's ridiculous video yesterday, via Web broadcast, almost doesn't count --she broadcasts out of a studio in her house which prevents any dialogue (just the way she likes it),but she is far from anonymous. She'd probably pull her hair bump out if her name weren't plastered all over the place. No, I'm talking about people with Internet 'handles' - fake names - and people who may use their real names but know they'll never have to be responsible to anyone for what they post online.

For those people, the rest of us have a choice as simple as the old-fashioned notion of changing the channel when we don't like a TV show. If you don't want to log off, or leave the site, hit the delete button if the obnoxious post is your in box, on your Facebook wall, on your IM or blog. Skip past it if it's on a site you're reading, or if most posts on the site are obnoxious, don't go there again (I generally avoid Above The Law now for this reason). But for the sake of your own sanity, don't take an obnoxious Web post on. You won't change anyone's mind. You'll just buy aggravation, an unwelcome flurry of nasty and pointless exchanges, and perhaps a creepy invasion of your privacy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How To Duck Out Of Child Support

Some people just don't get it. You can't duck out of support obligations when the court has your credit card statements showing you've been blowing your money in Vegas on whores and gifts...And you sure don't carry a wad of hundreds around in your pocket!!

I can always count on my friend John Bloch from across the pond to find the real gems!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Thrill of Cynicism, the Agony of Rage

It's so easy - being cynical. That old "been there, done that" attitude. Feels really cool. But it's very condescending, and it's really tough to be around a cynical person. I know. Because I'm cynical as hell. And trying not to be, so I can live with myself.

Then there's rage. So destructive, so stressful. It can eat you up inside; it can kill you. I look back at some of the things I've written when I've been at the peak of rage, and it makes me cringe. And I tell myself, don't get so angry again, look at what it did to you. Been there, done that. No need to do it again.

Damn. I'm being cynical again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Pissing Off Divorce Lawyers

I'd posted this on my blog back in August, as one of my first posts,when my blog was in the neonatal unit:

I tweaked it for the Huffington Post last week,  and it posted there yesterday, with huge (not all positive :
Kinda good to see people out there in cyberspace...

Happy New Year!