Tag Archives: lawyer

In which lawyers become strippers…and news becomes tabloid trash.

In the category of weird legal news, we have this: “Lawyer turned stripper to pay the bills.”

(No, we don’t have pictures to prove it, and by “it” I mean that she is a stripper, or a lawyer, either, for that matter…and just like that, 99% of the readers who found this blog while Googling “stripper lawyers” have stopped reading.)

Is the economy that bad? Or is First Coast News trying to roll out the stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold story to bump their ratings?

I’m going to guess the latter. But in any case, you decide. Here’s “Carla,” explaining her dire straights:

“Did I ever think I’d be taking my top off for rent money? No. I was in my mid-30s and had never danced before,” said Carla, who asked that we use her stage name and withhold her identity and some personal details. “As a little girl, I never thought to myself, ‘I just want to grow up and be a stripper,’ or, ‘All I ever wanted to do in life is climb in the lap of sweaty stranger and take my top off.’

“But, with our economy the way it is, especially in smaller cities … you strip or you starve,” she said.

Strip or starve…strip or starve… Well, when you put it that way, it’s obvious!

On the other hand, some people have jobs and have money—otherwise, who is paying to watch you shake it?

Apparently, strip clubs are a recession-proof business.

Even in the middle of a recession, when money is tight for pretty much everyone, managers at Déjà Vu say they are still seeing more than 1,000 customers a week.

“I would say we are doing very well considering what’s been going on with the downfall of other companies,” [Déjà Vu manager] Martinez said.

But I digress. Back to “Carla” and First Coast News:

As her prospects grew dim, she went back to school to earn a master’s degree, hoping to bolster her credentials. But her financial aid came in lower than expected, her credit was battered and she struggled to find part-time work in her new town to keep her afloat.

Can you feel your empathy levels rising? Because First Coast News is piling it on pretty thick.

Everything is happening to her, beyond her control.  She is the victim of less financial aid than she planned,  low credit (due to late payments or no payments to creditors…the only reason credit drops), and not finding a job in a “new” town (which, as she notes in the story, is a “small” town). But none of that is her fault. It’s the economy, it’s the credit agency, it’s the lack of jobs, it’s government, it’s everyone but her!

She was at rock bottom.

“I went around to see if could get a job as cocktail waitress, but there was not a single retail or waitress job.  No one was hiring, except for the topless places,” she said.  “It was an act of desperation.”

She started out serving drinks as a waitress, but moved quickly to dancing “because that’s where the money is, and that’s what I needed.”

Uh, huh. Can you see the gun to her head?

Pardon me if I’m a tad less than sympathetic here. The details of Carla’s practice, her pre-recession spending habits,  and how she put herself in a place where she couldn’t afford her lifestyle are obscured by the pasties limited facts provided.

Even with what is given, I can’t figure out why Carla resorted to a career she finds so objectionable. As an “act of desperation,” I expect dumpster diving, joining the Army, moving to a bigger city, or even declaring bankruptcy so you can start all over.  Between practicing law and working retail there are a lot of employment options, even in this economy.  At least, she could have left the small town for a bigger market. Whether you stay in law or try your luck elsewhere, well, that’s up to you. But to go to something you find as distasteful you find stripping?

“Sometimes it sucks, it’s degrading and I hate it, but it is necessary right now and I’m glad I have the option of doing it,” Carla said.  “My parents and a few friends know and they were horrified at first. But now they are proud of me for sucking it up and doing what I have to do.”

Turning to stripping as an act of desperation? Sounds more like a lack of imagination or effort.

If nothing else, maybe this will end up being a cautionary tale to upcoming law students preparing to take on enough debt to finance a small home. Be careful how much debt you take on, because some day you might end up in an “act of desperation,” and you never know what that might be.

I’m just sayin’: do we really need one more lawyer stripper in this world?

For that matter, do we really need one more sensational story from the news?This isn’t journalism, First Coast News–its salacious tabloid trash.

Despite Carla’s admonition (last paragraph) to never look down on someone in the “industry,” as she calls, it, I’m more embarrassed that someone as educated as her can’t find a better way to make a buck than taking it off.


Practice Tip: Note to self–don’t hit ‘reply all’

A quickie: when you get an email from opposing counsel, the cc line full of email addresses, don’t just hit ‘reply all’ or you might be violating ethics rules.

Rule 4.2(a) in the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct provides guidance on this:

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer in the matter, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer.

Unless you have already received a communication from the opposing counsel asking for you to cc his client, be wise, and reply only to the attorney.

If you make the mistake, or if you aren’t clear, lay out the ground rules with opposing counsel so that the mistake is not made.

For example, in our office, we have a legal department manager who coordinates the high volume of transactions that cross the attorneys desks every day. Often, our client and its agents will go to the manager before the attorney to find out the status of a deal, simply because it’s faster, she has a better view of the big picture, and knows what needs to happen next. If we don’t ask that she’s cc’d on all emails from opposing counsel, not only is our central manager left out of the loop, transactions slow down or are delayed. Laying out the ground rules–in our case, to ask that a non-lawyer be cc’d on all emails to us–helps keep the deal moving and gets the transaction finished.

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Anyone’s fault but mine

A sign we’ve become too litigious? Or just stupid?

This, from Namby Pamby, my favorite lawyer-with-a-nom-de-plume:

Caller: I fell and I want to talk to a lawyer about taking my case.

Me: You’re talking to a lawyer. Tell me what happened.

Caller: It was raining when I got out of my car. I closed the car door and I started walking when I slipped and fell in the parking lot.

Me: It was raining?

Caller: Yep.

Me: And you slipped because it was wet?

Caller: Yes sir.

Me: Who exactly are you looking to sue? God?

Caller: No…no…no… I fell because it was raining and wet. In the parking lot. And I want to sue.

via Time to sue The Weather Channel « The Namby Pamby.

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Next battle in the Affordable Healthcare Act drama? Administrative Rulemaking.

If you thought the big fight over health care reform was last year with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), or in the courts over its constitutionality, then think again.

Something every bit as big and as important is coming, yet.

Don’t get me wrong. The passage of the ACA was a serious battle and the law will still end up before the Supreme Court before all is done. But now that the law has been passed, and unless the Supremes decide it’s unconstitutional, there looms another battle, every bit as important and perhaps even more so. Continue reading

A post in which a businessman feeds himself to a shark, er, lawyer.

You own a small business. You provide a service or a product. Then one day, you get a letter.

No, it’s not a letter of gratitude from a happy client. Actually, it is just the opposite. Somewhere along the way, one of your well-meaning employees messed up on a job. It caused a lot of damage. And the letter is from a lawyer. Not a friendly-to-your-business type lawyer. Quite the contrary. It’s one of those you-caused-a-lot-of-damage-and-you-gotta-pay-for-it types. The ones that insurance companies own in droves.

You’re getting sued.

So, naturally, you put the letter away. You’ll get to it later. When you think about it. If you think about it.

Or maybe you could just clear this up now. You call the lawyer, explain what happened, give him details of the situation, how your business works, and ask his advice, his mercy, his clemency.

News flash: he’s not going to give it to you.

Both actions would be mistakes. Potentially large mistakes. Just listen to Patrick‘s experience (and a clue–he’s the lawyer, not you):

Just before leaving the office last night I got a call from Greg, of Greg’s Quality Plumbing.  Greg does seem, on the phone anyway, to be a quality plumber: a nice guy running a six employee shop for new construction and homeowners.  Unfortunately one of Greg’s employees made a mistake, overtightening a compression nut on the toilet water supply line in a very expensive house insured by BigState Casualty Insurance Company.  The nut eventually fractured,over Christmas vacation with the family out of town, and the water flowed for days.  BigState paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to rehabilitate the waterlogged house, and wants its money back.  From Greg’s Quality Plumbing.

And so Greg got my letter, and Greg picked up the phone to sort this all out, and to set me straight. […]

Can you see the train wreck coming? Can you sense the inevitability of the disaster “Greg” has just created for himself?

[…]  As I said, I have no doubt Greg is a quality plumber but Greg is an absolute amateur when it comes to dealing with sharks in the water.  He made a number of serious mistakes, feeding me information about his business, the employee who did the work, the general contractor who built the house and will be cross-claiming against Greg in the coming lawsuit, and Greg’s business assets.  All while trying to set me straight.

In the end, Greg did not set me straight.  What he accomplished was to give me information I will use against him at his deposition and at trial.  He kneecapped the defense attorney his insurance company will retain, an attorney who won’t even hear about the dispute between BigState and Greg’s Quality Plumbing for several months.  I almost feel sorry for Greg, who came into the conversation with high hopes that he would frighten me off or convince me that I have no case against him.

“Kneecapped” is a great way to describe how Greg’s eventual attorney is going to feel when he finally gets his hands on the file.

What should Greg have done?

Patrick, the very guy Greg was “gushing” to (no pun intended), has a few choice pieces of advice that business owners would be wise to learn if they’re going to avoid the disaster Greg created, for a disaster is what it was (and I’m not talking about the compression nut).

Check out the ten suggestions he at the original post here, but in the meantime, here are a few of my favorites:

1. When you get a letter from a lawyer, read it. Read it immediately. Read it more than once. Then take a short break, and read it again.  When Greg called me, he told me he “wanted to find out what all of this was about.”  If Greg had bothered to read my letter, which detailed exactly what we think the problem was, what we want from Greg, and how to give us what we want, he wouldn’t have needed to call me. And he wouldn’t have answered a bunch of my questions as I pretended to search my files and databases to get to the bottom of the problem in BigState v. Greg’s Quality Plumbing.

There’s nothing worse than unnecessary, self-imposed pain and suffering, but that’s exactly what Greg is doing to himself. He’s talking to a lawyer, but a lawyer who owes a duty to another client, not him. This lawyer is not your friend. Stop talking. Call your own lawyer.

2.  Don’t be an ostrich. Don’t ignore the problem: It won’t go away. I’ve spent most of my career defending clients for insurance companies, so I’ve ceased being amazed at how people hide their heads in the sand when they get bad news. But they do. They even get a “letter”, by certified mail, that says CIVIL SUMMONS with another “letter” titled COMPLAINT attached, and file it away, meaning to get around to responding to it. They violate rule #1, failing to read the Summons which clearly states that they have 30 days to respond, in writing filed with the clerk of court, or something bad will happen to them. After you’ve read the letter, you need to frame a response. And that response should not come from you.

You know who you are. You’ve got a pile of “stuff” that you’ll go through eventually, and you’ll deal with it when it’s convenient…meanwhile, time is ticking…

4.  Shut up. Wise advice, that applies to civil matters as much as criminal cases. Don’t call the lawyer who sent you “the letter” to “set him straight”. You won’t solve the problem on the phone.  But you might hang yourself.

Click the link. Really. Here it is again, if you missed it. Just shut up. (and ignore the profanity).

Read the post. It’s wise advice there (“keep your files,” “don’t be penny-wise but pound-foolish,” and “call your insurance company”), and it might just save you a buck or two when you get that letter.

Whatever you do, don’t just file the letter. Read it.

(h/t Popehat)

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