Have I mentioned that I dislike lawyers?
This could be uncomfortable, of course, because I am one. But when I hear about how my so-called esteemed brethren treat other people, sometimes it really makes me sick. Usually it’s the money. I understand our hourly rate sounds outrageous to people who are making $7, $8, $25 an hour, but we have the education (and student loan bills) to justify that, I think. So I try when people come to see me, to realistically think, all right, that will take 5 hours, at $130 per hour so…$650.
Only to hear that the previous quote they got from Attorney X down the street was $10,000. FOR THE SAME THING.
Now, need I mention that Attorney X drives a much better car than I do and gets a vacation in the islands every winter? And his kids attend private religious school? Seems to follow. Regardless, I can’t bring myself to behave this way.
But a recent client really shocked me when she said that she was using Attorney X for her case, and when she fell behind in payments he started dropping by her house in the afternoons and demanding sex to pay off her balance.
I was speechless. I knew there were rumors about several local male attorneys who thought they were pretty studly, and had relations with both staff and clients, but I’d understood it was a consensual “cool” thing. (“Cool” in that consenting adults should be able to do what they want to, not in that helpers of any kind, psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, should have intimate relations with clients at all, because they shouldn’t. Period.)
But what I heard there in my colorful little office was the description of a crime.
She agreed with me, but because she didn’t have a lot of money and because she did have a very desperate situation, she didn’t want to cause a fuss. She just wanted to straighten out her life. When she had taken care of the issues that had brought her to the attorney’s office, she said, then she could maybe think about it.
My gut instinct was to call the man up and tell him in no uncertain terms what I thought about it. Wouldn’t have served any purpose, though. He would have denied it and laughed at me, and then different ripples would have moved through our small town Bar. See, it’s a lot like the police buddy system here. Everyone covers up for everyone else. Haha, yeah, I scored, just another cost of doing business.
Attorneys are supposed to be held to a higher standard because of the rights and responsibilities we’ve earned. When one is a piece of filth, it drags all the rest of us down. I took the woman’s case pro bono, and I gave her the number of the state Bar’s disciplinary board. I told her when she was ready to go after him, I’d go with her. Justice comes both in and out of the courtroom. This time, we’ll see it done.