Sunday, December 28, 2008

Monday Morning Clients, Tuesday Afternoon Clients

In my ebook, The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer, my number one tip to being a good criminal defense lawyer's client is to never call your lawyer on a Monday morning. Wait until Tuesday afternoon.

So here comes tomorrow, Monday, after vacation. After the world has been on vacation. The clients who haven't read the ebook, and even those who did, will call. The calls will begin right at 9:00 a.m. Those trying to be subtle will wait until 9:12 a.m. Some will send e-mails tonight or early tomorrow morning. One already called during the week, requesting a meeting for, Monday morning. Reason? To tell me the same thing he's told me over and over again. I, have no news for him because he was just arraigned before Christmas and discovery isn't due for a few more days.

Me, I like to see the state's evidence before I engage in a post-consultation meeting with the client to "discuss the case."

Welcome back Brian.

It's as if on their calendar is a big red ALL CAPS entry on Monday morning: BRIAN'S BACK

No matter the stated reason for calling, the singular reason is this: to remind me that they are my client, and I am their lawyer.

It is a fascinating phenomenon that begins after the initial consultation. I'll meet with a potential client at 3 p.m. one day, and the next day he will call and say "hi, I met with you yesterday, we talked about my fraud case....."

Now I can understand this with a volume practice, the kind where the potential client shows up to an office with 6 people sitting in the lobby, but I do not have a volume practice. Usually, when my clients arrive in the office, there is no more than one other client there.

But still, the criminal defense client believes that once they leave the office, once I leave on vacation, I have washed my mind and desk of all evidence of their case.

It is the Monday morning calls that bother me the most.

I am conscientious with my clients. I actually tell them I am going away and specifically address their case. "We're still waiting for discovery, it should arrive after January 1." "I've called the prosecutor and he's gone until January 5."

When I go away for long weekends, any client who is under investigation and could possibly be arrested is advised of my travels and told that another criminal defense lawyer is aware of the situation and available. We know in the criminal defense bar that going on vacation or long weekends could result in getting fired.

Criminal defense lawyers on vacation? During my case? Blasphemy!

So tomorrow, Monday, there's nothing to discuss, and you, my client, know that. You are not actually expecting me to say "while I was on vacation, while everyone was on vacation, I actually got a call from the prosecutor from his grandmother's home in Indiana and we discussed your case." You are calling for one reason: "remember me?"

I like the Tuesday afternoon clients. The clients who know that tomorrow, I'll be reviewing a week of mail, any incoming phone calls, making notes on what needs to be done in the coming days, weeks, months. They'll wait to have a real conversation with me and not just my assistant telling them "He's under a pile of paper right now, can he call you back when he gets settled?"

Particularly interesting is that the Tuesday afternoon clients begin their phone call with "how was your vacation?"

Monday morning clients begin with "what's going on with my case?" I'd have more respect for them if they said "Brian? hey, good, you're back, now let's get on with it."

See you tomorrow, morning, looking forward to Tuesday afternoon.

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. Read his free ebook The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit

Share/Save/Bookmark rules Post to Twitter