Retainers and legal fees: The crazy lady rejection letter

Or have we eaten on the insane root
That takes the reason prisoner? – William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Look what I just found! In a file labeled “Crazy lady letter,”here’s the we’re-not-taking-your-case template I mentioned in previous pieces about retainers. This was the letter I’d send to nuts who’d drop in uninvited to the office, describe their cases and leave bizarre documents behind for the lawyers to “review.”

I used this letter for two reasons: (1) as a cover letter and record of the documents I was returning and (2) to cover our asses in case a strange person—and I’ve described several— got the idée fixe that the law firm had actually taken on his/her case.

It’s a nice little letter, simple yet complex. I’d like to think I was the one who composed it. Maybe I was.

I’ve bolded the intriguingly suggestive passages.

Advice: if you get a letter like this, see a psychotherapist immediately.

Dear Ms.  [blank]

As we discussed generally when you came to our office and in subsequent telephone conversations, it will not be possible for this firm to take your case. Not only are we fully committed to the cases we currently have, your matter is considerably outside the province of this particular law firm. [Love this phrase, “outside the province…” Means everything, means nothing much.]

I am herein returning the two folders of material you left with us so that you will not have to copy it again. If you wish to pursue this matter, you should get advice from an attorney as soon as possible with regard to any potential statute of limitations issue. [More “cover our asses” advice, in the off chance some other lawyer decided there was a case. If there was, and it was filed past the statute of limitations, the not-our-client could sue us for we-had-nothing-to-do-with-it!-malpractice.]


Naomi Fein
Office Manager


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