Thursday, July 17, 2008

When It's More Calls Than Cases

Sometimes I wonder if people want to talk to attorneys rather than hire them.

Today's one of those days. Girl calls, arraignment is today, actually it was 2 hours before she called from out of state. Wants a lawyer, a free lawyer, but won't of course say that. So I engage her in conversation. Small case, but a problem for her if she doesn't resolve it and instead waits for the arrest warrant to be executed. I can handle the case without her here, but I have to get to court today to be at the already-missed arraignment.

I quote the fee. At that point I realize her husband's on the phone because he starts yelling at me. He wants to know how I can charge her when "it wasn't her." I explained that this was unfortunate, but I didn't know that, and even so, she still needs a lawyer, and SHE CALLED ME!

He continues yelling at me, and finally says "WE'RE COMING DOWN THERE TODAY TO TAKE CARE OF THIS OURSELVES." Before I could say 'Ok," he hung up.

Then mom of another client calls to ask about her son's case. She has a lawyer but is concerned about the process and wants some advice because her jailed son is telling her what he's being told by the jailhouse lawyers, and she's anxious. She wants to hire me, so I ask why he's in jail. "Can't afford the bond." Short conversation there.

I always live with the knowledge that "you never know," who's on the phone or where it will lead. I just sometimes wish there was a way to avoid playing phone lawyer somedays.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit