Wanted: Young, Black, Female, Muslim Attorney experienced in Herpes defense.
That’s the short version of this excruciatingly intricate request from a prominent member of the Marin County, California community. We could make tasteless jokes about the thirty-year age difference between the man-behind-the-ad and his baby mama, or about herpes transmission (eww), but that just wouldn’t be becoming.
Instead, we’re just going to use this as an opportunity to warn you of a few signs of the hypothetical client from hell.
Sign #1: You’re Taking Over the Case on the Eve(ish) of Trial
“This lawsuit was originally filed in 2006 and is now scheduled for trial in June … The defendant is 69-years-old and has been enmeshed in the Marin County Family Law Court non-stop for 7 years.”
Seven long years. How many attorneys have handled this case over the this arduous war of attrition? Though not every change in counsel signals a problem client (it’s often the other way around), it is certainly one sign to watch for.
Sign #2: Delusional Thinking and/or Unrealistic Expectations
“Preferably you are black, female, Muslim, and under 50. The more understanding that can be brought respective to the workings of the mind of the plaintiff, the better … It is mandatory that you have handled at least three herpes transmission cases and are prepared to discuss both strategy and outcomes at our first meeting.”
What’s worse? The client that has no idea what they want - or the client that will be more invasive than a proctological exam? We also take issue with the presumption that only a young, black, female, Muslim attorney can relate to the plaintiff. Though we can’t relate to the accidental herpes transmission, some of us do watch a lot of Sex and the City and studied the Qur’an in depth as children. Stereotypes suck, bro.
Also, are herpes transmission cases really common enough to demand someone who has handled at least three of these types of cases?
Sign #3: Overly Specific Contractual and Payment Terms in the Ad
“If you are a court accredited attorney, you agree to a billing rate of $300.00 per hour with strict limitations as to scope of work and rigorous accounting of your time within a contractual understanding that any overages … are yours to bear and that you are free to leave the case at any time provided you offer reasonable notice.”
The short version: you’re not getting a penny beyond the initial $5,000 retainer, no matter how many motions, delays, and meetings are required to settle the case. At $300 per hour, that’s 16.67 hours worth of billable time to resolve a 7-year-itch. Trial prep and catching up on seven years of litigious hell alone would sap the budget.
One ridiculous request might be forgivable - but three? Odds are high that this client is going to be more of a pain than … well … you know.
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