A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

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 www.tannebaumweiss.com


  1. Anonymous11:06 PM

    You should understand something by now:

    #1) They shouldn't have to pay because they didn't do it or

    #2) They shouldn't have to pay if the case is dismissed or

    #3) They shouldn't have to pay if it goes to trial and they are found not guilty - see the corrolary to rule #3 in rule #1 or

    #4) They certainly shouldn't have to pay if they go to trial and are found guilty (I hope that one is self evident).

    Other than that, you're golden...

  2. Playing phone lawyer does suck sometimes, but u gotta do it. You have to kiss a lot of frogs. However, you may have a big one on the line (usually it's about one in 20 for me). I gotta get my numbers up.

    I don't want them coming into the office wasting my time. (thanks for the tip, Brian).

    I started charging $250 for an office conference. I think I'm the only criminal lawyer in Palm Beach that charges for an o/c. You know what, a guy just paid it 2 weeks ago, and I signed him up on a good felony case yesterday. Nobody puts value on "free."

    Grey Tesh

  3. Anonymous12:49 PM

    I had to sell my childhood home to pay my lawyer Paul Thurmond (strom's son) for a 1st degree murder/self defense charge that got dismissed but I have found an attorney for life and a wonderful human being.