There are many things about being a lawyer that are rewarding. For example, the liberating feeling of abandoning the dreadful profession for another is almost indescribable. However, as joyous as being a lawyer is, there are some downsides. One is that your clients are invariably in a bad mood. They are either angry enough to sue someone, or being sued themselves. They may be getting evicted. Someone may be trying to turn off their life-support. Maybe they were hit with a bobsled. Maybe they were hit by a series of bob sleds. Whatever; the point is, clients can be difficult.

Because clients are at their most vulnerable, they often view me–not only as their lawyer–but also as their psychotherapist, their priest, their pastry chef, their moil, their cartographer, their erotic sex kitten, etc. Filling all of these rolls could tax even the most Clarence Thomas-like giant of the legal profession. It certainly leads to interesting conversations.

Below are some of my more interesting recent conversations with clients. Now due to attorney/client privilege, I can’t reveal what they said to me. I can only show my end of the conversation. What the client said will be represented by ………… However, I hope these examples can still be instructive.

Some conversations are surprisingly short:

Hi, nice to meet you…….Thank you……..What?……You forgot what?……… You forgot your checkbook???…….. Oh Geez, ya know what, I forgot, my parrot’s on fire, I’ve just got to run.

Some clients get right to the point:

Good Morning……huh……..Well, yes, that is my real hair. What can I do for you?………..Really?…….How old was she?…Wow. But you’re pretty sure her grandmother was over 18?……..I didn’t say positive, I said pretty sure………….Did you remember your checkbook?…….I think I can help you.

Others have a more convoluted story:

It’s very nice to meet you…………Who dresses me isn’t important. How can I help?……………………………………………………………………………………….. So who owned the stock?………………..But then whose donkey was it?…………….And is that when you put on the leiderhosen? …………………Dick Cheney did that??…………………………………You do have to report that to the FEC, except for the part about the “Dirty Sanchez.”

Sometimes I make a mistake, and I have to fess up to the client:

Well, you’re probably wondering how your lawsuit is progressing………. Well, actually, I showered just today. But I do want to tell you that I didn’t quite get the final papers filed yet…………No, not the preliminary papers yet either……………Well yes, of course I’ve opened a file………Well, no, not in your particular case, but………………….Look, there’s no need to use profanity………Hey, I’ve heard all these filthy words before……..Wow, I actually haven’t heard that one………….Uh, I could try, but I don’t even think that’s anatomically possible.

It’s rare, but every once in a while a client is actually grateful:

………You’re welcome…………….And you’re very welcome………..Oh, that’s sweet, but there’s no need to hug me…………OK, come on, stop sobbing, I was just doing my job………………OK, I’m not even sure I’d be comfortable with you naming your children after me………………Look, get off the floor and stop kissing my feet, all I did was not take your case and refer you to another attorney. What?………….No, that is my real wife. The picture did not come with the frame.

But many clients are just difficult:

…………..I’m sorry, did you say “write you?”………………Oh! Bite! I get it.

I suppose if every client was happy-go-lucky and normal, there would be no need for lawyers. Then maybe I would be freed up to follow my true calling: the one thing I am great at and was destined to do. Which is…well…I’m actually not exactly sure. But I know it must involve watching a lot of Bikini Car Wash movies.

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