We get lots of calls, don’t we? We like to think of Criminal Defense Lawyers as being in courtrooms all day, but we really aren’t. Much of our time is spent in the office plowing through mundane tasks and attempting to get ahead of the paperwork pile sitting in our inbox. More than we would like, we spend much of our days answering phone calls from potential clients. They come in a variety of flavors: tire kickers, free advice seekers, crazies, and those who’ve been rejected by every other lawyer.
I have a request, and I believe I speak for the rest of the group in making it: When you realize that you will never hire us for substantive legal work, hang up the phone.
It’s that simple. There are no gimmicks, and we’re certainly not going to get rich from this, though it will save us a great deal of time. Many of you feel the need to be courteous, and courtesy is a nice thing. Our mothers teach us to be courteous. School reinforces the need to be courteous. In most situations, being courteous is the right thing to do, and people generally like you for it.
But, for this limited purpose and only in this one situation, we are begging you. Please be discourteous.
From a certain point of view, by being traditionally discourteous, you’re actually being more courteous toward us. We are constantly looking for more time to devote to the cases for individuals who are existing clients. We owe a duty of loyalty to them, and often their cases hold deadlines that we must follow. They deserve as much attention as we can give them.
Don’t bother with the usual niceties. We don’t need to know that you “have our number right here.” We figured that based on the fact that you called us.
No need to give us more facts about your case. We knew everything we needed to know about your case in order to make a decision as to the pre-payment generalities of representation. The additional facts, while important to you, are not important to us at that time, but they will be important to whoever you actually hire, if anyone.
Don’t feel the need to apologize. We understand that there may be some sticker shock. That DUI you thought would only cost $99.99 was just priced at $2500, and we know that caused you to retreat into vapor-lock. We know that there is no Kelley Blue Book for legal services. We know that some lawyers are expensive, and some are cheap. We get that.
So, go ahead and hang up. It may take us a few seconds to realize that there’s no one at the other end, but those few seconds pale in comparison to the many minutes necessary to be polite in breaking off a now-awkward conversation. We’ll appreciate you for it.
And with that said, I’m hanging up.