Lawyers, return your client’s phone calls!

For two weeks I’ve been trying to connect with Lefty Ledoux, the litigating partner of the law firm I employed to sue the Skush-O’Briens. So far, no Lefty, even though I will be deposed in exactly three weeks and I assume it’s Lefty who will be representing me at the deposition.

Miss Billy Perry, Esq., my erstwhile lawyer, is erstwhile because she left Lefty’s law firm last week.

Still, since I’m such an old hand at lawsuits and depositions, I’m not as troubled by Lefty’s lack of response as I am about the non-response of another lawyer in another case. Here’s what happened:

My married friends C and L called me from Alabama two days ago. We hadn’t spoken in a long time so there was a lot of catch-up. It was a wonderful talk.

I’ve been close to C and L since L’s lawsuit (upon which I worked), which settled a few years ago for quite a lot of money. L’s case, unlike my co-op case, was on contingency. That is, the case was so promising in its financial expectations, L’s lawyer had committed himself to advance all legal costs during the lawsuit’s process. At settlement, the lawyer first would be reimbursed for the costs he advanced and then would take one third of L’s final settlement as his fee. A fairly standard contingency arrangement.

Although this guy worked very hard and intelligently during the several years he handled L’s case, as settlement negotiations approached, I started not to like what I was hearing from the lawyer. Suddenly he was downgrading how much L might get, was complaining to me about the costs – things no one should hear out of a lawyer’s mouth.

My uneasiness proved predictive: the lawyer settled the case with unbecoming speed and for less than I believed it should have. Toward the end, too, this lawyer wasn’t treating C and L very nicely. Guilt, I figured. Guilt, I still figure.

A few months ago, C tried calling the lawyer with a question related to the case. She left a message; he did not respond. She called again and left another message. He never responded.

“But why wouldn’t he call me back?” she asked me plaintively.  “Guilt,” I told her, but I am furious. This guy got a bigger payday out of L’s case than I believe he’d ever received in his entire professional life.

He should have called her back.

I want to hear from lawyers about this pervasive problem you seem to have in responding to us, your clients.

(And Lefty, if you’re reading this, call me, huh?)

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