In the course of my *eviction chronicles*, recall I had an informal meeting with a local attorney.
See - Lawyer Says.
As he left my house, I asked he what he was going to charge me for the consult, "nothing" was his twice-iterated response.
I didn't hire him because, well, there was nothing going on. It wasn't until a few days later that I was served with a summons for an eviction proceeding. When that happened, I emailed him a question about dodging the server; he advised me not to do so and asked me to scan and forward a copy of the summons to him; but that was it. He never responded and why would he....I hadn't hired him. I figured he was just a local guy, being nice, so that when I did have a need I would use him (or refer him) - much in the manner of salesman types.
In fact, I didn't even know whether or not I was obligated to have a lawyer at my eviction hearing. I planned on doing the defense myself - printing out dead rat pictures and showboating my kids in tattered clothing.
Recall as my court date was approaching, I unleashed my leverage on the dingbat landlord....and he folded like a house of cards. He dismissed the case early this week. See - Eviction Chronicles - Chapter 1 Finale.
But late last night I got this email from that same attorney, again a guy who I met with only briefly some 3 weeks ago:
C-Nut. Due to an emergency I must travel to New York City at 6am tomorrow. Please ask the court to continue the case to 2-18-10 or 2-25-10 or 3-4-10 or 3-11-10.
Print this email and bring it with you.
For some reason he had it in his head that he was going to represent me in court the next day, the 11th as per the summons.
Now I'm scratching my head.
When exactly did he think I hired him???
Furthermore, if I did hire him, then why the [bleep] did he not so much as even email me for the the past 3 weeks to discuss my professional *defense*?
Was I supposed to pay a lawyer who did ZERO work on my case beforehand?
Heck, by law I had to formally respond to the court and to my landlord's attorney 3 days before the hearing, on the 8th. This part of the procedure he was surely aware of. And yet, obviously, he didn't offer to assist in that. Instead I get this last-minute email from him the night before.
It would have only been fair for him to show up in court, without a client, for a case that was dismissed, because he hadn't any professionalism at all.
I gave him a curt email response:
Case was dismissed.
An hour later, after probably much head-scratching of his own, he responded:
No $hit butthead. I'd say thanks for nothing, but his initial consult did give me two more bits of leverage against the scumbag landlord - 1) the $4,000 cost of physical eviction and 2) the water bill. (And those potential bombs remain unfired, in my arsenal for another battle.)
I've long known that I have to do everything myself. I can't stand PAYING reputed professionals: accountants, lawyers, doctors, financial advisers, educators, et al. for a negative ROI.