The Potential Client From Hell

by Jamison Koehler on June 25, 2010

There is a male voice on the other end when I answer the phone.  “I’m looking for a lawyer,” he says. He sounds pleasant.

“Fine,” I say.  “How can I help you?”

“First of all,” he says.  “I’d like to know about your experience as a lawyer.  I see from your website that you used to be a public defender.”

“That’s true,” I reply.

“But you don’t have to be a lawyer to be a public defender.

I laugh.  “Actually,” I say, “public defenders ARE lawyers.”

We go back and forth on this a bit.  He seems pretty insistent, and I can’t help thinking of something a client once told a colleague after the colleague had won a case for him:  “You are very good,” he told her.  “You should think about going to law school so that you can become a real lawyer.”

“Public defenders are lawyers,” I say again to the man on the phone, but I have already concluded that I don’t want this client.

“Well then,” the man says, finally conceding the point. “I need to know how you feel about sexual offenses.  Because I have been charged with a sexual offense, and I need a lawyer who is absolutely passionate about defending people charged with sexual offenses.”

“I do have some experience in this area,” I say.  “But I can’t tell you in all honesty that I am absolutely passionate about it.  Maybe you should talk to a different lawyer.”

At this point I hear some chuckling on the other end of the line, and the man identifies himself as my colleague, California criminal defense lawyer Brian Gurwitz, author of the In Your Defense blog.  Though I consider Gurwitz a friend through email and our blogs, I have never actually spoken with him before.

“Gurwitz you snake,” I say.

He laughs.  “I get some of that as a former prosecutor,” he says.   “I thought you deserved it as a former public defender.”  Gurwitz IS a snake but I think learned something today.  Who knew you needed a law license to be a prosecutor?

7 Comments on “The Potential Client From Hell

  1. Looks like its a blogger talk kind of day, eh?

    And ahem, you DO need a law license, but it can be from correspondence law school. The same one you PD’s go to.

  2. Cut me a little slack, Mirriam. I did my serious post this morning. And, besides, it’s Friday afternoon. Bloggers can be such pranksters.

  3. It’s a red-letter day! Not only did I get to chat with my new best friend, but my SEO is going to skyrocket for potential clients searching for “California criminal defense attorney snakes.”

  4. Gurwitz: I’m thinking you would have been number one on Google for those search terms even before this blog entry. Seriously, though, it was a pleasure speaking with you today on the phone.

  5. What I meant was it was a day we were going to be talking to fellow bloggers since we were meeting another blogger for dinner and we had lunch with other people who blog as well. Sheeesh!

  6. I would not worry about having to study aynhting yet, as things you will learn in class may contradict or repeat what you’re studying before-hand. However, it wouldn’t hurt. Look up court cases, read the bill of rights and the constitution. Arizona v. Miranda to learn about Miranda rights, and more. I would even contact an attorney’s office and let them know of your interest, and have them push you towards what to look into.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *