Declining Representation Letters

Lawyerist tells me I am to send out Declining Representation letters to potential clients I do not retain. I guess it makes sense and often can explain what options a person might have while still remaining on good terms with people. However, every so often you get that special potential client. We have all had this person. They watched half of Erin Brokovich on TBS in between episodes of Springer and MoPo and want to take their chance in the legal process. Guaranteeing their case is a winner and is going to make you very rich. Either way the office has a “Free Consultation” policy so I must waste an hour of my day (AKA Money) to let them make my office smell like smoke and garbage. For this person, they get my special Declining Representation letter.

April 12, 2013

James Shutter
3931 Rock Eagle Ct.
Centerville, IL 30230

Dear Mr. Shutter,

Thank you for contacting me to waste an hour and a half of my time explaining how big of an idiot you are. Also, it was great that you couldn’t make it into the office until 5:00 on a Friday. That really is the most convenient time of the week. I loved how you were 35 minutes late without calling the office to let me know. It is not like I have important things to do… like rushing out the door to get to Happy Hour.

Throughout your ramblings, at no point in time did you even come up with a legal cause of action that would be believable even on television. However, during the meeting when it looked like I was taking notes, I was really live-tweeting your craziness. I know I said I was going to research your claim more, but in reality, I simply added your name to a form letter and mailed immediately after you left my office.

Even if you had a claim, it would not be cost-effective to pursue it. The scratch on your car is not worth the “at least 50 grand” as you claim. Also, just in case I didn’t make this clear during our meeting, I bill at $225.00 per hour. I cannot, as you suggest, “do this claim pro bono” nor can I accept “a futon that has barely been used” as payment. This ain’t Craigslist bitch.

For some reason you are going to ignore this next part. I don’t know why. But you will. BECAUSE I AM DECLINING REPRESENTATION, I CANNOT FURTHER DISCUSS THIS MATTER. Nonetheless, I can guarantee that you will call me no less than 7 times after receiving this letter. I will try to ignore your call, but the one time I accidentally pick up the phone you will continue to talk to me for 24 more minutes.

To do some quick math for you that will be: (1.5 meeting + .6 wait for arrive + .4 phone conversation) = $562.50 dollars I have wasted on you. Oh not to mention the 47 cent stamp it cost to mail this letter to you.

Normally I would give you the name of another attorney to contact who may be able to help you in this matter. However, I do not want my name associated with you in any way shape or form. Please do not even mention that you met with me. Ever.

Even if you have a legitimate claim in the future, please do not contact me. If I see you out in public I will not acknowledge your presence.

Fuck Off,


Han Bitter Solo

Post image courtesy of Shutterstock.

  • Jane

    Hi, I am a first year lawyer and stumbled upon your blog (very good read btw). Wow.. Sorry to see you had this crazy person. I can identify with the situation (as it so happens I always have the pleasure of encountering people wanting free “legal” advice on phone, in person, drop-in whatnot – and just suck up all the time – even though I try to be polite and firm with them – because of the billable hours).. I LOVED reading this letter of yours. I wish I can write one myself and mail it out to some of those people I met..

  • CrayCrayCrim

    Lol, absolutely the story of my life since I started practicing in criminal defence. Every crappy client is a jurist who is convinced you’re the lucky one to have their case and they’re gonna make your career so you owe them rather than the other way around. No free consultations, ever, no wasted time.

  • Jane

    everyone… even family (they’re notorious) wants free legal advice.! worse is when my parents go out and tell people I can help these random people – and they call me wanting to be treated like the royalty!