Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

Sunday, June 29, 2008

#10. They are stuck in the past


Sue Law


It can’t be long now before some enterprising lawyers invent the “SueLaw” legal chain. There would be a limited menu above reception. Receptionist wearing microphones would shout orders through to lawyers busily flipping legal papers in the background. Drive through law firms would not be far behind. In some countries there would be an express queue for men with less than five wives.




But, what if the client’s started to believe that making Legal Mistakes was not good for them? In fact, they began to suspect that Legal Mistakes caused heart attacks and people who did not have legal “issues” were thinner and more attractive.
Of course we lawyers would deny it.




We would develop new experiences for our clients, give them more choice and introduce more interesting legal problems. We would run TV advertisements with messages like: “Law can be thrilling, exciting-sue someone today”. I may be called upon to reminisce about my High Court tussle over two gold fish (unreported), or my incisive questioning of an undercover police officer about his groin, or the time, as an articled clerk, I sued a Rector who knocked down and removed a gravestone then mowed over the grave as he allegedly did not like the deceased.
Bar Associations and Law Societies would call for client’s who may be able to testify that legal problems were in fact character building and a frequent trigger for spiritual experiences. I would proffer my own back list of clients including a one armed shop lifter, a two handed but allegedly light fingered bank manager, a top government prosecutor who let people off for a fee, a Police Superintendent who did a runner overseas as well as a number of cheerful African Princes accused of credit card fraud (at one time in my life at the rate of one per week). Such would be the impact of this marketing campaign the queues at SueLaw would be restored within a week.




However studies may start to reveal that most people do not have novel legal issues they have boringly similar ones. Clients would hear rumours of a centuries old secret code known only to lawyers. Could it really be that irrespective of country, social standing or occupation clients tend to make the same old Legal Mistakes again and again?




Amid allegations of a centuries old legal conspiracy an ancient legal scroll would be discovered revealing that the 10 Greatest Legal Mistakes of that time mirrored the 10 Greatest Legal Mistakes of this era. The discovery would rock the client world.




Anti-lawyer Activists may nail a Declaration to the door of the Law Society in London reading:
WARNING: AVOID THE TOP TEN LEGAL MISTAKES


1. Fighting with the parent of your offspring. You have so much to lose.
2. Disputes with your neighbour. The only full resolution is to move.
3. Buying one house without selling the one that you own. Bank bridging finance is required when you cannot sell quickly enough and there is the possibility of losing money on a distressed sale. I know you must have it but just wait for once in your life.
4 . Trying to get blood out of a stone. Winning is good. Getting paid is better. Ensure your opponent can pay up.
5. Fighting legal cases you cannot win. There may be other ways to beat your opponent and save the cost of legal fees.
6. Using a “Do it Yourself” will. You can’t even find your car keys most of the time. However if you are broke anyway-no problem.
7. Being your own lawyer. Even lawyers don’t do that.
8. When arrested, not calling a lawyer and trying to talk your way out of it.
9. Not getting a lawyer to review a lease or business contract. As many small businesses fail this is a sure way to invite trouble.
10. Any type of litigation relating to defamation.
Lawyers will be incensed and immediately sue the activists. But it may be too late, the realisation that people had been paying lawyers for centuries to process the same old Legal Mistakes may cause the public to become very angry. They may cease to make the same old Legal Mistakes and withdraw legal proceedings. The stock market would rise but the sales of BMW’s would plummet and lawyers may be seen riding bicycles.
Lawyers would desperately fight back and begin to sue each other for failing to properly advise their clients of the dangers. Huge class actions would arise pitting one legal dynasty against another. Other lawyers would jump in to defend their colleagues. After all they were just following instructions! Surely clients knew the similarity. But lawyers would successfully argue that clients should have been informed in writing. Judges would enjoy making robust judgements hammering law firms in damages and legal costs.




The courts would be busier than ever. Insurance premiums would go through the roof and legal costs to the public would increase dramatically. Clients may start to return to law firms with the same old Legal Mistakes some would not be able to kick the habit. Lawyer would get other lawyers to issue certificates confirming that clients had been independently advised that their instructions contained the same old Legal Mistakes. Client’s complain at the cost of obtaining these certificates but what could lawyers do? Two problem suers would start a 12 step program called “Adversaries Anonymous”.




Lawyers would survive their darkest hour. Signs outside legal offices throughout the world would proclaim “business as usual”. BMW would be saved.




As for SueLaw, it would open offices worldwide and become famous for the uncharacteristic cheerfulness of their legal receptionists “Do you want files with that?”. “Have a nice day, in Court” they would say.

Sponsored by Brennans solicitors