Return your client’s or their family members’ calls

Gary S Bernstein
One advantage of being in practice alone is that I am the only person who shows up in court.  People are unhappy when they retain a specific lawyer and then on the day of trial/plea somebody else shows up.  They are really unhappy when their family member goes to jail and they weren’t sure that was going to happen.  and they are REALLY, REALLY unhappy when they call the lawyer and he does not speak with them or return their call.

A woman called me about her boyfriend who got 10 years- 5 of it without parole.  She paid the full $5,000.00 from her earnings as the boyfriend was locked up.  Now she is not the client and is not entitled to consultations on defense strategy, etc.- but he did ask her to talk with the client about the plea when she spoke to him at jail.  Because the lawyer sent his Associate for the plea, he promised to file an 8-505 (drug treatment) Motion on his behalf at no additional cost to her.  Every time she has called about it he could/would not speak to her.

Before taking money from her, and keep in mind I do this for a living, I told her the original lawyer was obligated to do what he promised.  I told her if I sent him an email she would hear from him in the next 5 minutes.  Well, I got an email back that he would call me.  I wrote back, “no, call her.”  He responded that he did file the Motion recently and I know they are not docketing things too quickly because of the short staff.  He added- “I will call her.”

The problem is solved.  I had to convince her that she was entitled to the return call and that she should not have to pay me to do that which was promised.  She was just too through with the lawyer.  It is crazy when I have to fight with someone, NOT TO TAKE THEIR MONEY, because they shouldn’t pay for something twice.