This page attempts to provide an introduction to your attorney.
I used to manage a law office and I have worked for attorneys either directly or on a case by case basis.
Most of what I did was to schedule appointments with clients, organize intake information for new clients, file documents in court, serve subpoena processes, do legal research, some legal writing of documents [mostly drafting and filing after completed and ready to file and serve on opposing counsel].
There was some investigating involved and following up on information provided or discovered.
The most stressful part of this job was scheduling court dates, depositions, hearings and appointments with witnesses, police, or clients. For the most part when a hearing is set after filing the paperwork the attorneys assistants contact each other and compare schedules hoping to find a day that each attorney has open and can attend a hearing and contacts the judges secretary and hopes that the judge will also have an open spot. Sometimes this is done in reverse and the judges secretary is called and open dates and times are wrote done before calling the other side and finding a date that works for everyone. Sometimes a Notice of Hearing comes from the court and that date can be in conflict with the boss'/attorney's current schedule. This can be a scheduling nightmare and can include having to call several attorneys and clients and a few courts to give notice of the scheduling conflict and try to work it all out.
The day was always full of things to do since a list of things to do was always being updated hourly.
I took this job knowing that the courts are corrupt and had no idea how my eyes would get opened and how much more the courts are corrupt than even I imagined.
The real meat of what the average attorney does is over bill the client for imagined services and time rendered and no one knows the truth. It is sort of like a Barber Shop being able to control how many haircuts are actually done and how many haircuts are reported to the IRS.
As a general rule the real function of an attorney is not to ever do anything that embarrasses a court, judge, prosecutor, or agency even at the expense of protecting a clients rights.
I found that even most of the attorneys I met really had no idea that they were "scum buckets" and thought that it is the client that does not understand because this is how things are done. A lot of attorneys are second and third generation attorneys and become licensed and have a job in an established law firm.
What the public does not understand is that the judge has total control over how much it is going to cost to litigate any case in the judges court. A lawyer soon learns that any judge can make any case so expensive to litigate that the attorneys client is going to run out of money before the case is completed and at that point in time cannot even afford the more expensive costs of filing an appeal.
So the bottom line here is that any attorney who zealously represents a client will soon find that the judge may over rule many portions of this "zealous representation" and the worst thing that will likely happen to that judge is these decisions will be overturned or reversed on appeal and it costs the judge nothing to do this. So, inconvenience a judge with your clients rights and you may have a client that cannot afford to pay these costs before you even finish representing the client. In other words the attorney does not get paid for these services and learns that a clients rights could mean the difference between making a living, or being a nice guy [a broke nice guy].
What I did was lie to clients often. An example of this goes like this:
A client comes in with a legal problem and is seeking to retain counsel.
At this point in time there are several things the attorney must know:
I would have a client come in, make an appointment to see the boss and after that appointment I would have to go to the court request the files, make copies and then bring them back to the office. The boss would charge about $250.00 for this time, as if he did it himself. Anyone can do this by going to the court clerk, requesting the file and get copies and take them to the attorney for about $20.00 to $50.00 unless it is a very complex and long case.
Anyway, the boss would now have the file and never even looked at it. He took the retainer usually about $500.00 to $1,500.00 on up to $10,000.00 or more. Now the client has a second appointment which will cost another $125.00 to $250.00 billable to the client and the boss is not going to be there for the appointment. What did I do when the client came in for a scheduled appointment? The boss would tell me to create some documents for the client to sign and make up an excuse about waiting to hear from the other side, or for a court date, or for some additional documentation and let the client talk for as long as they want at a rate of about $125.00 per hour, since the boss will bill for reviewing what notes I took the documents I prepared and what happened.
My job, even though the boss had not done anything at all, except maybe file a written appearance and maybe even schedule a hearing date, after requesting an adjournment. This is almost always done at the last minute and the excuse used is to ask the court for an adjournment because the client had just retained your services and you will not have enough time to prepare so as to adequately represent the client. So an adjournment is now made and the client is informed of the new court date, if one was already set.
Now does the client realize that this is what really happened? No, what my job was and what most any attorney's office will do is try to accomplish this:
Once the client leaves the office hopefully the client is going to leave convinced, satisfied, and believe that they have one of the best attorneys available and the other side is going to be sorry that that this attorney was retained. Any lie I had to tell the client in order to accomplish this was what I did when I worked in a law office. If a client left the office with this accomplished, even if it was 90% fabrication then I was doing my job.
90% of the cases that come into a law office are already decided, especially when the attorney leaves one of those conferences in judges chambers while the client sits in the hall. For the most part an attorney will have one of the assistants copy and paste documents that have already been prepared in a prior similar case and just change the court, dates, litigant's names, attorney's names and case numbers. A few minor changes will be made to suit the specific case. This takes about an hour to an hour and a half to draft up and finalize for the client to review it and then sign it. Then several copies are made, proof of services notarized and filed in the court and copies mailed to the client, and opposing counsel. What the client hears is how much research time went into preparing these documents and is again over billed for a few hours work.
What an attorney really does can best be explained this way:
Once while I was doing some "extra work" for another attorney that took most of an afternoon . I asked an ethical question and am still shocked to this day how quickly I got an answer to my question. This was a very prominent criminal defense attorney who's law office was open "by appointment only." I spent about 4 1/2 hours doing this work for this attorney and we took several breaks while waiting for things to print, or the computer to process this and that. After a few hours we were getting along and talking more about this and that.
I asked that attorney how he handles the ethical problem of zealously
representing a client and I got an immediate response without any time
needed to think about it. To the best of my recollection this is what he
I could go on and on with this issue and I hope I covered the basics of what an attorney really does to at least 95% of the clients that comes to attorneys with legal problems. I could probably write a book about this subject.
It amazes me how little the general public understands about the law, the legal system, the courts and attorneys.
You do not have rights and that is why most people feel that way after dealing with a court. What you have is the right to exercise any rights you may think you have during the court process and you will have to pay an attorney to exercise these rights who will not zealously preserve these rights for you. You can ask the attorney all the questions you want to and you will be told that you just don't understand the law and that is why you need an attorney.
A great majority of the citizens of the United States never have to go to court and as far as they are concerned there are not any problems with the legal system. Police protect each other, judges protect each other, attorneys protect each other and they have the immunities that the average citizen thinks are the rights of the citizen. [see the web page on immunities and use the "back" button on your browser to return here]
The real problem with our legal system is that the citizen will not stand up and notice, or even object to what is happening to his and her fellow citizens. If the politicians are not hearing about these injustices but from those who are treated unjustly and the majority of the citizen's have no complaints then those who complain are considered disgruntled malcontents.
Any judge may enter any order that is convenient. The law means nothing and a judge is not bound to obey the law except upon successful appeal to a higher court. If a judge enters an unlawful order [and I have seen many] then it is up to the affected person to appeal that order of the court. If the attorney did not object and preserve the objection on the record before the court then the higher court is not bound to overturn an unlawful order of a lower court.
What a citizen is truly up against in this legal system is that the courts may do as they please, any way they please, it is up to the litigant to be aware of what is happening and that there is a need to object and preserve these objections on the court record while it is happening during the litigation before these objections are considered preserved for appeal. You will be considered to have voluntarily waived your rights if you do not know how to timely exercise them and preserve them. So, if a court violates your rights you will be punished for letting the court do it by being subjected to the conditions of an unlawful and appeal able court order that you now cannot appeal. The only thing a judge has to be concerned about is whether or not you can successfully appeal and have an order overturned, reversed, or have your case remanded to the lower court to have a new hearing consistent with the order of the higher court. Remember, judges "stick up" for each other and even the higher courts are guilty of this since there is a "judicial public image" to uphold!
The sad truth is that until people can grasp this and start doing what your police do, your politicians do, judges do, and attorneys do and that is stick up for others and stand up to corruption, official misconduct and fraud than you can be assured that there will only be more of the same.
I sometimes have to admit that what it will take to change things is not likely to be done and in that sense and context we, as a society, deserve the legal system we currently have.
Proceed to the next page: Your Constitutional Rights