Friend’s Family Law Bitch

Bitter and Abused Columns, Lawyer 12 Comments

I have a friend who’s nearly finished with his first year of business school. He’s in the best MBA program in the nation. For anonymity’s sake, I won’t mention what program, but you’re smart.  You’ll figure it out.

Anywho, I’ve done a handful of small legal jobs for him—all for free. I figure one day when I have my own firm, he’ll send me some real business. These prosaic legal services are loss-leaders. An investment. There’s usually no brain surgery involved. It’s just small-claims odds and ends, traffic stuff. Simple things. And, most recently, family law.

Hold the GD phone. It’s not that what he wanted was difficult. It’s what it represented.

When you’re young and new to the law profession, there are tons of ways you foresee yourself being abused as a lawyer. Especially a low-rent attorney like me who was forced to knock himself down a peg when he realized the literal bleakness of this economy, for which I blame Bush and Obama. I always assumed I had, at least, MediumLaw potential, but I ended up having to beg for some corporate lit work at a chop shop due to the world’s lousiest job market. Regardless, I fully expected to be some law firm’s whipping boy while I was young and new. And I expected my spectrum of low-end clients to work me like a dog. But I didn’t expect all the mooching and requests for free legal advice.

I suppose it should have been perfectly obvious; everyone always says you need a lawyer in the family. And, at first, it’s a bit of an ego stroke. (When grandma gets busted doing 57 in a 40, who better to call than her smart-as-a-whip grandson who’s a newly minted lawyer?) But it quickly crosses into ill-favored territory. After trying to be accommodating, you suddenly realize you’re nothing more than a bitch—and your friends and family are holding the crop whip.

But back to my B-school friend. He called me one day to allay his current relationship strife.  See, he thought it would be funny to give his directionally challenged (mousey-looking) girlfriend a GPS for her car for Christmas. No big whoop. Nothing sexy about it. Just $299 at your local Best Buy. (Amazing what beige practicality JD and MBA types share.)

A few months later, she posts on Facebook that he’s got a small dick (or something like that), and his little-dick, fragile psyche decides that he wants her to burn in hell. Enter the lawyer.

The dude wants his GPS back. Any 1L can tell you that unless the thing is unique, you can only sue for the value of the item—not the return of the item itself. Somebody steals a Rolex? You sue for the value of the Rolex. Somebody steals a one-of-a-kind Rolex with an inscription on the back from your great grandfather? You can sue to get the watch back.

I sent a demand letter. My own letterhead. Full of legal jargon; full of threats. Certified Mail.  $3.24.

IT WAS A GIFT, YOU PIG-HEADED PIECE OF CRAP! If I weren’t doing this for free, you’d just write it off. I am not an instrument of your inflated ego.

Oh wait. Yes, I am.

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  • BL1Y

    Lawyer gets bullied by a friend into making a meritless threat?  Fracking wimp.

  • Prom Queen

    Good job new lawyer… you can ASK for it back… but have no legal standing on this GIFT your friend wanted back. That wouldn’t have cost you $3.

  • Cheryl

    I think it’s a test.  If you’re wiling to do that crap for him, then he’s realizing that you’re too stupid for him to actually throw real work over to when he starts working.  Wake up.

  • Juris Depravis

    Please send me your address.  I have some maxipads to send to you.

  • Throwgood Marshall

    It’s true that counsel in this situation is a pansy but if someone drops the “small dick” title on you its advisable to get out while you can. Cut your ties and eat the $300. At the end of the day you might have a small ween but you’ll retain some dignity.

  • Alma Federer

    Welcome to the world we women face all the time. Men are always taking advantage of us, and we have to work twice as hard just to brake even.  As for the job, it’s dirty. I feel bad for the lawyer here.  The woman should never say a man has a small penis, even if he does.

  • BL1Y

    Alma, if you’re working twice as hard to break even, you’re terrible at billing your time.

  • DHD

    Every profession has free loaders, even bankers.

  • Been There

    Never do pro bono for friends or family. 
    They won’t appreciate the work and they will expect miracles.

  • pub defender

    Why are you friend’s with this guy?  What kind of an asshole gives someone a gift and then goes through “legal action” to get it back?

  • Bill

    The guy is a dick.  The woman should keep the GPS thing, or break it before returning it.  Besides, he got sex out of it, and he had a small dick so it probabley wasn’t that good for her even when they got along.

  • Bitter Overseas

    I usually don’t mind giving our friendly advice to friends who ask (with a disclaimer), especially if it’s something I know and doesn’t require any real effort on my part. I draw the line where the help is more than just a conversation or two. But sometimes I’ll step up if it’s important enough or if it’s someone close. It all depends. You just have to make sure the advice or help that you give isn’t taken for granted.