Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The difference between being a lawyer and a plumber

Water, water everywhere. Just like:
My home town.

What does all that water have to do with the practice of matrimonial law, you ask? Well, it's like this: Plumbers deal with crap. Toilet crap. Clogged drain crap. Backed up sewer crap.

Divorce lawyers deal with emotional crap. He cheated on me. She took my baseball cards.

Same job, right? Wrong. Here's the difference -- if your toilet is backed up, you can't flush and the entire house smells like crap -- YOU DON'T TELL YOUR PLUMBER HE/SHE NEEDS TO WAIT TWO WEEKS TO GET PAID! (Was that me yelling?)

No, a plumber needs a check (cash preferred) in hand before the snake comes out. Or, the plumber walks away and says, "Sorry, that's not my crap to clean up."

Not so with lawyers. Case in point -- an ugly ugly case scheduled for trial, let's say this week. And let's also say, weeks ago you told the client he/she needed to come up with a trial retainer to pay for the intense preparation needed for trial, as well as a full day in Court. A week passes. No payment. The check is in the mail. Well, the check is for less than half the trial retainer when it arrives -- the amount you quoted for finishing the divorce IF THERE WAS A SETTLEMENT, which you strongly recommended due to the gaping holes in the case. (sorry, yelling again).

Trial is in 2 days. You know the Judge won't let you out for non-payment by your client at this late date. You feel like an ass. You realize that, despite 7 years of higher education, including law school, you are not as smart as a plumber.

Pass me a wrench, will you?

But ... not to ignore knitting, here are 2 Caps to the Capital, knit during the most recent Sabres games. Go Buffalo Go!


twig said...

Been there done that. Most of my clients are low income/reduced fee so I hate making them come up with the entire retainer before I start work, but I have to. Got burned too many times.

Good plumber analogy.

Shannon said...

Two words I learned from a divorce lawyer: replenishing retainer. Good luck.