Monday, October 5, 2009

The things I go through . . . .

As many of you know, I am or have been the Deputy General Counsel for Litigation for the U.S. Hungarian Int'l Trade Comm'n in our Nation's Capital, near our Nation's Capitol.

It's not the worst job ever.

But being a lawyer usually means working with people.

That's one of the worst jobs ever.

For instance, there is a particular type of client -- the indignant one.

The client who fucks around on a particular matter -- issues a flawed decision, enacts some policy or regulation without really thinking it through, fires an employee without just cause, or otherwise sorta dicks around.

But the client was usually acting in good faith -- just lazy or stupid.

These clients get involved in a lot of lawsuits.


Clients frequently lose those cases when they're tried.

That's where I come in.

I get to hear the song called I'll Take It To The Supreme Court!

The verse is always Appeal appeal appeal appeal! ! ! !

Then I tell them that they have, at best, a twenty-five percent chance of winning, and that they'll lose credibility in the courts for the cases where they might have, oh, a forty-five or fifty-percent chance o' winning.

They sing the song again, but they sing it with an angry, indignant look on their face. They then explain to me why they're indignant, and they note the injustice of it all.


We lose those cases, oh, at least seventy-five percent o' the time.

Then, the word wafts around the halls: if only Clarence had really believed in the case, we would have won. Why, he said there was only a twenty-five percent chance we could win! He lacks fire in the belly. . . .

There's rarely a whispered: wow, he has an uncanny knack for knowing when we shouldn't go forward with a loser. And look how he pulled out that tough forty-percent-er he kicked ass on. . . .

This is not nearly as exciting a story as it would be if I were a bouncer at The Good Guys, a strip club near our Nation's Capitol in our Nation's Capital.

Or if I were a solicitor or barrister in the jolly ol' . . . .

2 comments:

Mythical Monkey said...

I often said you have to lose a really big case to get a bonus at the Hungarian Trade Commission. It's a stupid way to run a litigation section -- encourages attorneys to make a high-risk high-profile argument when a low-risk low-profile argument would better serve the client. Yes, sometimes, when the right set of facts comes around, you have to roll the dice but more often than not attorneys were rolling the dice with a bad set of facts just to further their own personal agenda. If there's no career downside and you have no conscience, then why not?

Mister S. said...

I couldn't agree with you more, but did you have to use a photo of my agency's chief nemesis? That grin on his face is because he's going to bill his client for everyone at that table.