Those dang Attorneys – Sometime they are sooooooooo frustrating!
I am a lawyer.
I don’t be around the bush
I tell it like it is.
In my extensive 30+ year as an HOA lawyer, I have found that even if the news isn’t great, or what a client necessarily wants to hear, at least it provides a reality check. It’s like going to the doctor, you don’t want a vague hazy response to your questions, you want to know the truth. You want to know what is going on. You want to know how to solve your problem.
I recently made a telephone call to my elderly mother’s attorney in Iowa. She took a fall in January and she is now in a nursing home. And so it’s on me to take care of her financial affairs. After a few conversations I am looking for a new attorney. Why? I quickly got sick of him beating around the bush.
I asked him about some charges to my mother for telephone call that he was definitely asked not to make. He beat around the bush a little bit, saying he had called, and didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to. I said, ok, I would pay the bill if he had any information from the call he could send me. He said he had “information” in his head. This did not do me much good.
I also wanted a ball park figure of what the firm would charge her for doing her taxes. I had called a couple weeks before and asked his secretary if she could get me the info on last year and the year before. They have been doing her taxes for quite a few years. Instead of her sending me the info, he called me.
I asked him what the firm generally charges for a straightforward uncomplicated return. His first answer was “Well we charge about the same for everybody.” I asked him again, what that was and he said he had no idea. He said it depended on what was involved and what was turned over to him. I told him her circumstances had not changed last year from the year before, or the year before that.
So I said, “Can you just tell me what paid she the firm last year?”
His answer : “Generally we charge about a couple hundred dollars for a straightforward tax return.” I asked again, “what did she pay last year for her returns?”
He said, “Well, in looking – about $475.” I thanked him for that information and then he said “Well, I looked it up so you would have that information, it was $496.”
I feel your pain, if you are in a situation dealing with anyone who does not give you a straight answer. This lawyer wasted my time beating around the bush. Worse, he eroded my trust.
All he had to do is have his assistant look up what she paid last year, and email me a note.
Hopefully any attorney you are working with is willing to honestly discuss realistic ideas about what to expect when you venture into legal action or ask for a service of some kind. It is not possible in all cases to estimate the costs, because there are so many factors involved, but an attorney who is experienced should be able to rationally discuss costs in various events and provide you with a fair estimate of the best and worst case scenario … so you are informed! And there is no excuse for beating around the bush about costs already charged or paid. That’s a factual inquiry.
If you are frustrated by someone from whom you want information who is beating around the bush, feel free to come right out and ask for a straight answer.