Thursday, January 16, 2014

Million-Dollar Lawyer No. 3

     With shiny shoes, shiny blue tie, and head held high, Million-Dollar Lawyer No. 3 charged down the heart-pine hallway like a steed on a runway and caught my hand in his big, bold grasp just as I turned to see what was the commotion was.
     "What an incredible office," I commented, pointing out some fancy woodwork.  But he was way ahead of me.
     "Come on down and meet my associates," he bellowed.
     One more lawyer's conference room, one more handcrafted table as big as a mortuary's workbench. In fact, I was told, the swivel chairs were left over from a murder trial.
     "We've done some homework on your case," the first associate said.
     "A massive case," the steed-lawyer interjected.
     "It's going to be a lot of work," the junior chimed in.
     "How can it be massive?" I asked.  "I'm a single doctor."
     (What would they call a case involving a multi-hospital corporation?  Super-massive?)
     "Oh, there's a lot of paper in your case.  At least 2,000 lawyer-hours."
     "Hasn't anyone done discovery in this case yet?" Junior asked.
     "Who are your lawyers, that they can be sitting on your case this long?" added the steed.
     "Haven't they done anything?"
     "Stop!" I said.  "Stop with the prior-lawyer bashing. That's what blue-collar workers do, not professionals."
     "How long has it been?" Junior sneered.  "Three years?"
     "All we're saying," the steed went on, using a softer tone, which must have cost him effort, "is that someone should have been doing something in this case before now."
     He rested his eyes on me, full of sympathy, to let me know that if that someone had been him, the case would be all wrapped up by now.
     "Right," I answered.  "And what is it you plan to do?"
     "We'll get documents."
     "We'll make calls."
     "We'll move this thing along."
     All three spoke at once.
     "It won't be cheap," said the steed, rolling his shoulders forward.
     (Isn't rolling-shoulders on the list of warning signs in How to Spot a Liar?)
     ("A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance;  its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe the lie"--Pamela Meyer.)
     "I didn't think it was going to be cheap," I said.
     "It's going to cost you a million dollars," he clarified.
     "We've got to review every single one of those charts," the associate said.
     "Eleven thousand records?" I asked.
     "Lots of man-hours," the steed said. "I mean, lawyer-hours."
     "And the only guarantee," I ventured, "is that I pay you a million dollars."
     "We can't guarantee success, if that's what you mean," the associate said.
     "But I'm a truly brilliant trial lawyer," said the steed.
     "Isn't that what other people are supposed to say about you?"
     "But it's true!" he answered.
     "Yes, it's true!" said his associates.  "He is brilliant!"
     I looked out the window.
     It was a nice, cool day, and I wanted some air.
     "Thanks a lot for your time," I said, standing up.
     The head honcho lawyer opened his arms to me, for a hug.
     For everyone's information, I don't do hugs for million-dollar lawyers.

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