11.11.2010

I Get Mail: A Note on Lawyerin' and Limitations thereof

 Dammit, why do I get the sense this will be a disclaimer of sorts.


As you have probably adduced, clever lil' ghouls, I am an attorney. This is a fact which surprises even me sometimes; usually when I'm doing dishes in my underwear and having a dance party in the kitchen. That said, the gig comes with some prohibitions, because -- and this may surprise the cynics -- we are, and must be, exceptionally ethical persons.

We are tasked with literally being your agent, both in fact and at law. That's what the word means, at its core: It's derived from Middle English/Archaic French...attourne, or to be appointed.  This concept is a broad one, and when the gravity of it sinks in, you'll hopefully understand where I'm coming from. In a nutshell to be attourned means that: every word you need uttered, scrawled, reiterated; every action that must be advised for or against or taken to protect you; all property and real estate and monies that you need negotiated for, recouperated from, safeguarded, dispensed of and/or collected from; the advancement of your best interests; the protection of your fundamental and economic rights; the enforcement of the laws which make your professional, social and educational life function smoothly and without your notice; the responsibility for your very freedom and personal liberty...all of those are the responsibility of your attorney.



 Pretty heavy shit, huh? But is it as heavy as Slayer?
Trick question...there is nothing heavier than Slayer.


With all of these obligations comes some definite no-no's; do's and dont's that are absolute, and which cannot be breached. Why? Because like every other profession (cocksucker MBAs excluded), we strive to do well by doing right. Ultimately, all of our rules of conduct are to protect you, your faith in the judicial system, and the integrity of the legal system. And we take it seriously. And 95% of us do our jobs with integrity the profession expects and that you deserve.

 I liked him better when he stuck with dick jokes...
Among the laundry list of "Thou shalt nots..." is providing legal advice to a person and then attempting to deny that an attorney-client relationship exists. This means, that if you share a confidence to an attorney regarding an , and he returns those communications with some sort of advice, generally you have created an arguable attorney-client relationship. 

That is why I must now say the following to you*, and am only doing so now because of the emails that I receive...and receive far more than I would like:
  • No, I cannot tell you how to get your child support lowered.
  • No, I cannot help you with your creepy bosses. (although, I feel for you).
  • No, I cannot tell you how to collect from a deadbeat dad. (again, I feel for you)
  • No, I do not know and cannot tell you what to do when you flunked your piss tests.
  • No, I will not call your landlord and "work it out" for you. (although, I really feel for you)
  • No, I do not know someone in Lansing who can handle your sentencing.
  • No, I will not tell you if there is an effective way to beat a license revocation if you refused to take a breathalyzer.
  • No, I cannot get a restraining order for you. (As a former DV counselor, I will tell you to get one now, though, if you even suspect you need one!)
  • No, I do not know how to work things out with Sallie Mae. (trust me on this one!)
  • No, I cannot work things out with Financial Aid for you.
These, I cannot do.  I will get in trouble, and you will be poorly served by internet legal advice. There are always legal services organizations, special non-profits (such as fair housing centers, women's and children's shelters), pro bono attorneys, State Bar access to justice programs, attorneys with alternate fee agreements, bartering (depending on the state), and other ways to get quality legal advice, in-person, and accessible to you financially.
  • Lastly, for everyone who sends me emails/texts/IMs telling me about your love of the law, I do appreciate that. And, I do appreciate the enthusiasm for your dreams and ambitions. I am not trying to squelch those dreams, believe me, but there are some harsh realities based upon the follow-up questions/statements that invariably arise. Such as:
  • "I love the law. How do I become a lawyer?", " What's it like", "I'm thinking about going to law-school", etc. 
  • To that end, this 5 minute video will explain it far better than my failing words could ever convey.


 
via Wahoo Corner's brilliance.
"I do not like my BlackBerry..."


Sorry I had to lay that on the 80,000 of you who have not asked for legal advice; from a complete stranger (and a creepy one at that); who's demonstrable niches are sexual innuendo, raging leftism, far too many songs in his repertoire, and juvenile humor; all via a yahoo email account. (srsly?!)

That said, dick jokes to resume shortly. And, thank you for your patience (CYA, and all that).

-d.s.


* * *



* Proper version is as follows, in case there were any doubts that this is a professional site (hint: It's not). This web site contains general information, on occasion, for the general public. Nothing contained herein is intended as legal advice. You should neither act nor refrain from acting based on information obtained from this site. None of the information contained herein is privileged or confidential. The information contained herein is is not necessarily reflective of my personal opinions, nor those of my clients, co-counsel or firm. Finally, no form of electronic communication you send creates, or shall create, an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship must be via a written, signed agreement expressly creating the same. -EJE (<-- yes, I realize you can totally stalk me, but it's not like I'm hiding, or anything. Hell, I even put my picture up there.).

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