About two months ago I saw an advertisement in the local paper for a position that described everything I did for 15 years. While the business name was anonymous, it was located in the area I live in but I hesitated submitting my resume. There are some attorneys I simply don’t like…almost or even more so than I disliked my old boss. There are a few I simply will not work for. Since the advertisement didn’t give more than a fax number I had no idea which attorney had placed the ad.
If they are shady or have a poor work ethic or are just liars…yes lawyers DO lie! Lol…then I just didn’t want to work for them. Also there was the added burden of my former boss having a reputation of being lazy and “doing things”. I didn’t want his bad reputation to color my prospects.
Each day I read the advertisement and each day I considered it. Then I told myself if its still running a week from now then I’ll apply. The advertisement was still in the paper. It was also listed on Monster.com but had no additional information but for the job description/requirements. Then stuck in procrastination mode I told myself if it’s in the paper NEXT WEEK I’ll apply. It was in the paper again the next week. Then I told myself well…maybe…what the hell, right? When I made the decision to actually apply, submit my resume, the ad was no longer running. That is when I submitted my resume thinking…whatever! I don’t care. But I did, a little.
I wasn’t surprised, based on my work experience, to get a call from the attorney who had placed the ad. I happened to know the attorney and she knows my former boss. However, she told me she wasn’t going to hold him against me! Lol!
It has been 8 months since I last worked and while my savings are running pretty low I still wasn’t overly excited about the prospect of working again. At the very least not interested in working in the law field again.
For instance, we were representing a guy in a divorce; he had five minor children that he was fighting for custody with his soon to be ex-wife. She claimed he was crazy, he claimed she was lying. There’s always three sides in the law, his side, her side and the truth! He seemed ok to us but we didn’t live with him so we took the allegations with a grain of salt.
One day, right after a custody hearing he decides to let the air out of his wife’s tires. Her car was parked in the courthouse parking lot and sheriffs were standing around waiting to be called for escorts, arresting someone driving away on a suspended license or some other mischief they could get involved in. They stood and watched our client let the air out of all the tires THEN grabbed him and cuffed him. Later, while talking to him, he just didn’t understand what the big deal was. Ok…well it is tampering with a vehicle that doesn’t belong to you AND you’re trying to convince the judge that you’re a good parent, it just….well it doesn’t LOOK that good you see? We got him divorced but we weren’t able to convince the judge to give him any custody of his kids. Mom and the 5 kids moved out of the area…not the best thing for the kids as they deserve to know their dad even if he’s a bit nuts.
We did criminal law too. I think of it as stupid criminal defense law. Some of the clients were so incredibly stupid I often wondered how they found our office. One client accused of molesting his step-daughter (he kissed her on her mouth) told the police during questioning that he was “teaching her the difference between a platonic relationship and a love relationship” uh…what?! The police record all interrogations and I sat in my office watching the video on my computer with the client standing behind me. He was so incredibly arrogant and sure of himself that he babbled on and on and on. I kept thinking, while watching the video SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP! Alas his arrogance got him 6 months in jail, a no contact order with his stepdaughter, thousands of dollars spent in attorney fees, loss of his job… and he still doesn’t understand what he did wrong. That criminal case also led into representing him for his divorce and then a custody battle for his two younger boys.
We handled one case where our guy was accused of murder. But the police didn’t have the body. The “victim” was a woman who was married with five kids…by day acting like a pillar of society, but by night she was a major drug dealer in a rather small community. She didn’t care who she sold to, adults, teens, pre-teens…it didn’t matter as long as she got the money. But she ran into two guys, in a bar, who were even meaner than she was; or had even less regard for humanity than she did. The police never stopped looking for her or investigating the case. It took them about five years but the police obtained evidence that pointed them in the direction of our client. They found the woman’s car out in the desert somewhere, partially burned. Apparently the idiot perpetrators used utility bills to try to start a fire…to burn the car. They didn’t stick around long enough to ensure the car actually burned. Pouring gasoline on it might have helped! Anyway, our guy’s name was clearly legible on one of the failed fire starters so the police went knocking on his door once again. Long story short our guy agreed to talk, tell all the details but in exchange for a plea bargain. That’s where we came in. He told of an argument between his friend who’s name is Guy and this Mama Linda drug dealer. He got mad and shot her between the eyes. This Guy person is well known to this local community as worse than a rabid dog on methamphetamine. Our guy we’d known for a few years as he’s the ex-husband of another client of ours. Anyway, we negotiated with the District Attorney that our guy will tell the whole story as well as tell where the body is in exchange for a lighter sentence. It was big news at the time, the story ran in the newspaper day after day after day, above the fold. So we had to get an agreement, our guy tells you where the body is…BUT it better not leak to the press or all deals are off. Because we knew our guy didn’t actually kill her. Oh he was there alright, but he’s not a killer. As it turns out, he took the police, the District Attorney out to where they buried the body. However, he had a hard time finding the actual location complaining, “it was developed up back then.” Meaning houses and stores built around there. Eventually they were able to find her body…she would have stayed underground for ever and ever without someone telling where she was. They did an excellent job of hiding her. Digging a deep hole, putting her in it, burying her, then laying down rocks, then more dirt, then a thick piece of plywood, more rocks and more dirt. They knew what they were doing when they hid her, they didn’t know what they were doing when they tried to hide the crime. But police never quit! In this case another cold case solved! Our guy got 15 years, the other guy? LWOP-life without parole. He was the one that killed her, remember; he had our guy shoot her again in the exact same place. The District Attorney, after extensive questioning, ascertained that she was already dead when our guy shot her…based on his description of what she looked like, her eyes. I think they really wanted the other guy and were willing to “deal” and agree to certain terms with our guy. The other guy was ensuring that our guy would stay silent by forcing him to shoot also. It doesn’t really work that way. If she’s dead already and he shoots her, he isn’t guilty of murder. But stupid criminals do stupid things every day.
Or the client who had been arrested for doing drugs over and over again…he found himself arrested once again. This time though he swore up and down that he was clean. He told us if the tests showed him doing anything then it would have to be a result of him being in the room while his girlfriend did drugs. Some sort of odd osmosis I guess. Of course the tests came back “dirty” and of course he continued to deny guilt. Off to jail he went, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
My boss was known as an expert in Driving Under The Influence (DUI) cases. He represented a guy who had two such past convictions. One day we had finished a trial in a DUI case where the jury came back with a not guilty verdict but the jury foreman told my boss that next time your client hits someone and this time hurts someone it’ll be on your head. My boss left the courtroom to catch a flight to start a trial for a different case, but a DUI just the same. The idiot client picked my boss up at the airport, reeking of alcohol with a 6 pack on the seat of the car. My boss asked, ‘where you drinking like this the night you had the accident (subject of the trial)? He was. My boss admitted he just didn’t give the client the best defense he could have because he knew, just knew the client was guilty.
Attorneys never or almost never ask, “Did you do it?” They don’t want to know and believe it isn’t always relevant if the client is actually guilty or not.
After that my boss never asked, but I did. When the evidence was piled up in a mountain pointing toward guilt and the client was screaming I’m innocent, I would ask them…did you do it? I didn’t care one way or the other because everyone is entitled to the best defense that money can buy, but I was curious.
We did civil law, which I found to be mind-numbingly boring. A contract is a contract is a contract, right? Between the parties there are only three elements needed to form a contract: offer, acceptance and consideration. The consideration aspect seems to confuse most people who enter a contract. It doesn’t have to be money to be “consideration”. I had one client call me while I was on my way home to tell me he was going to buy a business. I told him, do me a favor will you? Just write it up! Put it on a cocktail napkin if you must but write the terms and both of you sign it! He laughed at me and told me it wasn’t necessary. Well, Dave it IS necessary. Must I remind you that we have a drawer full of the lawsuits you’re involved in (he owns several business, homes, undeveloped land, etc.) simply because you still believe that a handshake is all one needs to be bound in a contract. Those lawsuits represent the fact that others think you’re a fool. So WRITE it. He didn’t follow my advice. To date the business is doing well so there’s no lawsuit filed…yet.
We did other areas of law too. Agricultural and equine, i.e., horses, cows, goats, etc. One woman came to us because the district attorney had charged her with animal abuse. She was adamant that she was saving these animals! I saw the photos taken by the animal control officer and can say they would have been left to die in the wild. She had “saved” horses and donkeys but allowed their hoofs to grow out to more than a foot long. So long in fact the hoofs were grown out and started to curl under; they were unable to walk. She couldn’t afford to feed them so they were emancipated. The animal control officer told her to take the animals to a vet…rather have veterinarians come to inspect them. She promised she would but of course did nothing of the sort. Eventually the animals were rounded up and almost all of them had to be euthanized. The district attorney offered her a “deal” no more animals and we’ll file this as a misdemeanor so not a big deal. She refused the deal insisting she’d done nothing wrong and wanted to continue to “save” animals. We ultimately dropped her as a client since we just couldn’t support her (represent her) since she just didn’t see the harm she had done to the animals. Her case resolved about a year later which ultimately required her to put her in jail for about 6 months with a felony on her record.
But this new job will just be family law. I get to do divorces which does include domestic partnership dissolutions too, child custody, alimony or child support cases; enforcement of orders, etc. Just the kind of law that really just wears and tears on me emotionally. It’s truly astounding how mean people can be to another…one they used to love.
I’ll be making quite a bit less than I used to but will have less responsibility, well maybe not responsibility but less stress. This new job is working for an attorney who actually does her job. It’s a off-shoot side business she’s starting which I can certainly do without thinking and one eye closed.
But, hey it’s a job. After 8 months of unemployment, I now have a reason to get out of bed in the morning and for that I’m grateful.