Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

One Last Loose End

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Total Black: $2,027.70
Total Red: $239,707.84

“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go.” 

Well . . . not quite.  But pretty much things are coming to a close.  My New York chapter is closing.  The only last remaining task is the pro bono client. 

I haven’t posted much about the pro bono client, mentioned back in My First Client, because there hasn’t been much to report.  She and I met a few times, mentioned in Just Another Manic Monday.  And, as noted back in The Days of My Life, I had consulted with a former law firm associate who had worked with me on the case and who was also laid-off with me.  We discussed a retainer agreement.  Then I met with the client to discuss it and she signed the retainer agreement based on a very modest contingency fee structure.  The result?  Nothing.  I filed my notice of appearance with the court and copied the attorneys.  I emailed back and forth with opposing counsel for one defendant.  I spoke on the telephone with opposing counsel for the second.  I demanded that they turn over discovery materials, per their obligations.  One said he’d get to it—but only after I emailed threatening to move for sanctions for failure to comply with discovery requirements.  The other played dumb.  Insane.  Neither did send anything further and that’s the last I heard from opposing counsels.

I had also emailed opposing counsels back in January about the case being marked off the calendar for the parties’ failure to file a note of readiness for trial.  I received silence in response.  Again in February I emailed them about their lack of response.  More silence.  Then in April another opposing counselor (one defendant has two) emailed me.  I informed him of the status of the case, thinking perhaps he’d reach out to his colleagues about getting the case moving.  Even though my client is the plaintiff, so to speak—it’s actually a petition so she’s the petitioner—it is the defendants who have real money at stake.  An injunction was issued stopping them from taking action against my client’s property.  They’re out, so to speak, roughly $5,000.  I don’t know why they’re not active in this case.

The client too emailed me back in January to let me know that she remembered that she had to get documents to me so that we could supplement our document production.  That was the last I heard from her.  I emailed her on the 17th to discuss my upcoming move and her options for continuing with my co-counsel or finding a new attorney, and so on.  I only  heard back from her two days ago, saying that she’d be available after the 31st.  I texted her to let her know that I needed to speak sooner.  She telephoned me back yesterday—from a different number so I didn’t pick up (besides I don’t answer the phone while at the contract attorney position)—to say that she was in finals and that’s why she couldn’t meet sooner.  With that information, I opted to put off any conversations with her until this weekend before I leave.  She’s been through a lot with this case, so I figured not running the risk of upsetting her before her finals.

So yes . . . this is one major loose end and one that I’ve lost and continue to lose sleep over.  I’m not sure why because it doesn’t seem like anyone but me is concerned about this case.  The client has her property back.  Her damages claims–her day in court, if you will—are really the only matters outstanding.  The law firm I worked for already missed the statute of limitations deadline for moving for a default judgment against one of the defendants, so that’s out.  She’d have to proceed against the firm for malpractice, I suppose.

I’m just at a loss.  I’ve reached out to my co-counsel, so to speak, who agreed to help with this case.  He’s mentioned by name in the retainer agreement and stands to earn a portion of it.  I’m getting mixed responses from him.  Not sure what one should do.

Four days until I leave.  Thankfully today I arrived at work at 11am, after returning home once again at 2:30am, and only worked until about 6:45pm before leaving for my second-to-last day at the theatre.  In other news, total black is up a bit.  As is total red.  I borrowed $2,500 from my mother to assist with the movers.  I expect both numbers to fluctuate a lot over the next few weeks as money comes in and goes out, particularly from the sublettor who will be taking over my apartment until October when my lease ends.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

May 26, 2010 at 23:23

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