Friday, January 20, 2006


Yeah, about those regular, thoughtful posts...oops.
It's been a zoo this week. I had a big court appearance Thursday on a criminal case, and that sort of dominated my life for a while. Meanwhile, the civil side of my practice is even busier with landlord/tenant issues, so I came out of my probation violation hearing haze to find a stack of eviction defense work sitting on my desk. Plus, classes started this week at JCC, where I am teaching two classes. In other, less whiny, words, it has just been a very busy week and that's cut down on any posting.

A random comment in passing, to the hypothetical readers out there: no, a lawyer cannot answer your "one question." That's because, to lawyers, there is never a single question. I get frequent calls along the lines of "can my landlord do that?" and my answer is quite often further questions. Have you paid the rent? Do you have a lease? Have you informed him/her of this ongoing problem? Have you called the Housing Inspector? What a lawyer does, if he/she is competent, is to apply facts to the law and reach a reasoned conclusion. There are no "one size fits all" or, most often, not even "one size fits most" legal answers.

Which isn't to sound like I'm zealously guarding the secrets of lawyering, trying to steer everyone into lengthy office visits billed at an hourly rate, and won't chat with you about something if it comes up in a social situation, to personalize this commentary. But if you bump into your doctor at the bar and say "Hey Doc, my knee is killing me. What's wrong?" most people wouldn't expect a complete and thorough answer without further questions and an examination (hopefully after you've left the bar, but hey, to each her own...)

It's a similar situation with lawyers. I know what most people want, which is for me to say that clearly they are in the right, the law is on their side, and the opposing party will get laughed out of court. Even if that's the case, I couldn't tell you that from a thirty second exchange and I would be highly suspicious of anyone offering such pat advice without at least asking a few probing questions.


Post a Comment

<< Home