Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Tire Kickers

At my old firm that did primarily insurance defense, we cons tombrady1203/17/19
Crazy homeless guy who drove an RV around parking lots preac fettywap03/17/19
Mainland Chinese asking about EB-5s are notorious tirekicker shithead03/17/19
Too true. I remember getting a phone call one time from a Ch alphadog1503/17/19
That's why I would never want to have an office that looks l cranky03/17/19
Yeah we were right near the courthouse and people would lite tombrady1203/17/19
They know just a little of their rights and think Miranda's wutwutwut03/17/19
I worked in legal aid for what felt like the longest 1+ year catwoman33303/17/19
I had a similar experience as a trainee solicitor. The chair limeysolicitor03/18/19
@limey, good to see your post again! Not sure how long catwoman33303/19/19
I would submit to you that management may have been right. Y onehell03/18/19
@onehell, I'll concede your point that I'm probably not a "s catwoman33303/19/19
Fair point about being a woman. Did a client ever actuall onehell03/19/19
Not directly, but one psychotic CLT repeatedly left screamin catwoman33303/19/19
Sounds horrible. Did you have to shake hands with your clien cranky03/20/19
I used to have to shake hands with my clients. The only ones limeysolicitor03/20/19
For obviously ill or gross CLTs (esp. in the winter), I deve catwoman33303/20/19
Good ideas. Glad you got out of Legal Aid since it was not a cranky03/22/19
"I respectfully think you--and the legal aid world--are bein onehell03/21/19
I've seen too much violence firsthand--close calls, not on T catwoman33303/21/19
I haven't worked there in many years, but it was my first jo onehell03/21/19
To speak to an immigration attorney (not an already existing isthisit03/18/19
I had someone who literally went to walmart, bought certific dingbat03/18/19
Fun story. But it sounds like you're running a risk of buil wutwutwut03/18/19
Sending nut jobs to colleagues you hate is a time honored tr pauperesq03/18/19
I do that sometimes. Makes me feel better about the misery c cranky03/22/19
Jaja credited. isthisit03/18/19

tombrady12 (Mar 17, 2019 - 3:04 pm)

At my old firm that did primarily insurance defense, we constantly had people coming into the lobby from the street asking for legal help. We turned them away and a few literally wouldnt leave until they talked to an attorney. We had to call the cops and physically remove him.

What are your worst "walk in" stories?

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fettywap (Mar 17, 2019 - 3:27 pm)

Crazy homeless guy who drove an RV around parking lots preaching "the word" while begging people for money. Wanted to sue because Staples told him to leave. Said he wasn't a street person because he was giving people God. I told him I couldn't help him and I was going to lunch. He refused to leave and made me sit through a bunch of preaching and talking about himself.

Guy who said he went to schools and told the kids how awful drugs are. Probably a drug dealer. The school told him to stay away. Was determined to sue because his preaching was the only thing that was going to keep kids off drugs. He came by a second time preaching about it after I ran him off the first time.

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shithead (Mar 17, 2019 - 3:56 pm)

Mainland Chinese asking about EB-5s are notorious tirekickers.

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alphadog15 (Mar 17, 2019 - 7:03 pm)

Too true. I remember getting a phone call one time from a Chinese gentleman who wanted to know how much I would charge just to review the financial affidavit he had completed for an immigration application. He made it very clear that he filled it all out and just wanted me to check his work.

I tried explaining to him that only a small portion of attorney work was form filling, that our paralegals did that, but it fell on deaf ears. I declined to even provide him a quote.

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cranky (Mar 17, 2019 - 5:39 pm)

That's why I would never want to have an office that looks like a retail storefront where people are more likely to walk in because they "just want to talk to an attorney" for free. I know a few attorneys who for some reason have their offices in a strip mall, which I think is really tacky, or right on a busy street near a courthouse. In those situations, I suppose they have receptionists who must deal with all the weirdos and tirekickers.

I only had a few situations, when my office was on the 1st floor, inside a professional building, where immigrants (black and Hispanic) walked in wanting to talk and bug me. Either my officemates would tell them I only meet by appointment, or else I had to quickly get rid of the person barging in. So aggravating.

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tombrady12 (Mar 17, 2019 - 8:28 pm)

Yeah we were right near the courthouse and people would literally walk in after family court and demand to speak with an attorney. One woman I was in the lobby at the time and said no one here does that. She was so confused when I told her that, like "You're all lawyers, right? Why cant you help?"

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wutwutwut (Mar 17, 2019 - 10:38 pm)

They know just a little of their rights and think Miranda's right to an attorney means right here, right now....

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catwoman333 (Mar 17, 2019 - 10:12 pm)

I worked in legal aid for what felt like the longest 1+ year of my life, in a decrepit, crumbling 50 yr. old building in downtown (aka Homeless Central). AC was always breaking down, so it was hot as hell in the summer (100 plus degrees).

Most prospective clients always reeked of BO, booze, tobacco, and pot, and the "offices" (the size of a shoebox) always had to be routinely sprayed with Raid bug spray after visits because they would leave behind ticks, mites, mange, ants and other insects. The worst day was when make the mistake of glancing out the window at lunchtime, only to get a glimpse of a guy actually peeing on the side the bldg. (and not anywhere near a tree or bush). Most clients were filthy, high/drunk, or had missing teeth. A few were downright scary and psychotic. I was honestly afraid to decline cases because we never knew who would get belligerent or violent if they were told "No. We can't help you."

I was (mercifully!!!) laid off after 18 mos. because mgmt. said I wasn't "compassionate enough" with the "clientele" (translation: I didn't have the patience to listen to incoherent drunks/crackheads ranting at length about the "unfairness of life" etc.). I was never so happy to lose a job in my life...:)

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limeysolicitor (Mar 18, 2019 - 10:13 am)

I had a similar experience as a trainee solicitor. The chairs in our waiting room were permanently stained with body fluids & we had a cache of air fresheners in the cupboard under the kitchen sink to chase out the stink of clients after they left.

Fortunately they showed me the red card after my 2 years was up. I never looked back.

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catwoman333 (Mar 19, 2019 - 1:59 pm)

@limey, good to see your post again!

Not sure how long I will stay on this site. It's a real pain to be forced to sift through all the ridiculous, offensive OT garbage to find any rare intelligent or interesting posts on politics...:). Perhaps you should post about UK/Brexit under this category instead...

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onehell (Mar 18, 2019 - 4:45 pm)

I would submit to you that management may have been right. You obviously resented being there and clients can tell when you hate them. I worked at legal aid for a lot longer than that and your experience wasn't remotely like mine. You have to be part social worker at heart to work at legal aid and if you don't have that spirit, it isn't for you.

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catwoman333 (Mar 19, 2019 - 1:48 pm)

@onehell, I'll concede your point that I'm probably not a "social worker at heart" (I'm sure a plus for LA "lifers") but I didn't "resent" being there. But compassion has a limit. All employees--even social workers--have a right to reasonable boundaries and safety, and no employer should require its employees to tolerate threats of physical or verbal abuse from CLTs--even ones down on their luck, psychotic, or "under the influence"--as a condition of employment. I studied to become a lawyer, not a bouncer in a bar or mental hospital, or a WWF referee...:). And I'm not physically strong enough to "enforce the peace" if push came to shove.

I'm also guessing you're a guy, and I've noticed throughout my career that stubborn, abusive CLTs tend to be a lot less belligerent toward men attys. (esp. taller, bigger than them). I'll bet it's because they know a guy can more easily clean their clock than a smaller-sized woman if they get too nasty.

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onehell (Mar 19, 2019 - 6:55 pm)

Fair point about being a woman.

Did a client ever actually attack you, or threaten to do so? What we did for that was that our desks were positioned in such a way that the door was behind us and the desk would be between them and the door. By the time they could get around the desk, we could be out the door. Reception also would not let anyone back who was obviously intoxicated or belligerent, and we weren't hesitant to call the cops if someone refused to leave.

Granted, I suppose that if any of these types had a gun, they could have easily gone on a rampage. Nothing in particular about our office design or staffing would have prevented it, and it's not like a government facility where there are metal detectors and security guards. But I regard that as one of those low-probability risks that can't really be helped, like getting hit by a bus or struck by lightning.

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catwoman333 (Mar 19, 2019 - 8:21 pm)

Not directly, but one psychotic CLT repeatedly left screaming, ranting, incoherent vm msgs. He then called a supv. an hour later and threatened specific bodily injury because I didn't return his calls fast enough to suit him. Another CLT called a federal agency office and threatened to blow up a courthouse after we declined his case. Our firm had to notify the judge, security to be on the lookout, and we reported him to the FBI to try to avert him from carrying it out.

A few years ago, a disgruntled man made headlines after losing a SS disability case. He walked into a federal bldg., with metal detectors and murdered an armed guards who was set to retire in a few weeks. More recently, disgruntled people have burst into otherwise "secured" places like VA hospitals. Another more recent case concerned a clearly psychotic homeless guy who, after being asked to leave a library, returned to gun down the librarian as she sat in her car in the parking lot.

http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/01/05/nevada.courthouse.shooting/index.html

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/03/09/reports-of-man-with-gun-body-armor-at-yountville-veterans-home/

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/north-natomas-library-amber-clark-murder-13477763.php

Interesting that the common denominator in these cases was a long history of red flags, threats, and/or prior convictions for violent crimes that were either ignored or downplayed. Yet the legal aid community expects its attys to routinely expose themselves to these kind of people (unstable, long history of violence)….in order to prove ….I guess...that they and society are bastions of "compassion"--even for dangerous, violent ex-convicts??


"I regard that as one of those low-probability risks that can't really be helped, like getting hit by a bus or struck by lightning."


I respectfully think you--and the legal aid world--are being way too naïve--esp. in this day and age of 24/7 toxic media and easy access to guns. I'd just as soon not wait until the bus hits or lightening strikes. That's why I got the hell out of legal aid.

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cranky (Mar 20, 2019 - 6:33 am)

Sounds horrible. Did you have to shake hands with your clients? I'd be grossed out doing that. I once had this guy who had had mrsa come in. He paid the consult fee in cash so we wiped down his money with hand sanitizer, and an officemate cleaned the doorknobs after he left.

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limeysolicitor (Mar 20, 2019 - 6:02 pm)

I used to have to shake hands with my clients. The only ones who wouldn't were the hasidic community from Stamford Hill. They were easily my favourite clients. They don't smell or turn up drunk or high. They always arrived on time & brought their bits of paper.

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catwoman333 (Mar 20, 2019 - 10:07 pm)

For obviously ill or gross CLTs (esp. in the winter), I developed 2 proactive strategies to minimize physical contact with them: I walk into a room to first greet them with big files/legal books in BOTH hands (so I can't shake) or sometimes I just tell them: "I have a bad cold and would hate to spread my germs to you." That usually does the trick without offending them.

For the clueless few who ignore my strategies and still insist on a handshake--you know the types, the ones who walk into your office coughing, sneezing, sniffling, sweating who say, "Oh I've been sick with the flu for a month, but it's okay! I swear I'm no longer contagious!!"--I'm just bluntly honest with them: "Look I have a heavy workload this week, have a lot of traveling scheduled etc. While I'd love to shake your hand, I really can't afford to risk getting sick and missing any court dates."

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cranky (Mar 22, 2019 - 7:10 pm)

Good ideas. Glad you got out of Legal Aid since it was not a good fit for you. It sounds nice and altruistic at first to help people in need without demanding large amounts of payment, but the grind, low pay, and the quality of clients can certainly wear you down and make you bitter instead. I like the "hands so full you can't shake hands" trick. Being sick has also been one of my legit excuses. I keep hand sanitizer in my office and car.

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onehell (Mar 21, 2019 - 12:49 pm)

"I respectfully think you--and the legal aid world--are being way too naïve--esp. in this day and age of 24/7 toxic media and easy access to guns."

Thing is, it's precisely that 24/7 media that makes people overestimate the likelihood of such incidents. If it bleeds, it leads. But the actual statistical likelihood, for any given person on any given day, of being involved in such a thing is still very low. For example, the National Safety Council says that the lifetime risk of dying in a mass shooting is around 1 in 110,154 — about the same chance of dying from a dog attack or legal execution. The lifetime odds of dying in a car wreck, meanwhile, are between 1 in 4,000 and 1 in 8,000.

Even if the risk were higher for someone working in something like legal aid, heck even if it were quadruple the average person's risk, you're still taking a much bigger risk every day when you get in your car.

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catwoman333 (Mar 21, 2019 - 8:45 pm)

I've seen too much violence firsthand--close calls, not on TV or in movies--to be comforted by the "statistics" you quote. But enjoy your career in LA....let's hope it's a long one.

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onehell (Mar 21, 2019 - 11:24 pm)

I haven't worked there in many years, but it was my first job out.

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isthisit (Mar 18, 2019 - 9:03 am)

To speak to an immigration attorney (not an already existing client) you have to pay a consult fee. That eliminates the proles but not always the crazies.

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dingbat (Mar 18, 2019 - 1:59 pm)

I had someone who literally went to walmart, bought certificate paper, printed on it that it was a $100 trillion dollar note, and was asking for help trying to force the bank to honor it.

I said it wasn't my area of expertise and referred them to another lawyer who I despise

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wutwutwut (Mar 18, 2019 - 3:01 pm)

Fun story. But it sounds like you're running a risk of building a load of bad karma there.

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pauperesq (Mar 18, 2019 - 5:27 pm)

Sending nut jobs to colleagues you hate is a time honored tradition in this profession.

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cranky (Mar 22, 2019 - 7:07 pm)

I do that sometimes. Makes me feel better about the misery certain attorneys put me through.

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isthisit (Mar 18, 2019 - 6:55 pm)

Jaja credited.

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