There are some very good reasons to hate lawyers. I don't like the ones who try to take over my work when I ask a simple question or who tell people to never have any dreams while complaining about how much they hate their lives. I also hate the arrogant jerks & those are in bountiful supply in the legal field. Thankfully, that's not every single attorney or I'd never do squat for the field.
I saw this ad yesterday on Craig's List and it epitomizes exactly why many attorneys hate particular clients or won't offer freebies:
Need an Attorney Writer - REVISED (New York City)
Date: 2011-08-10, 10:08AM EDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
I need a licensed new york lawyer to register a corporation for me and prepare all the paperwork and serve as a registered agent of process. The lawyer must a PO BOX or physical address to receive processes if there are ever any. Newly licensed attorneys and senior lawyers welcome to apply. We are a small start up hence budget our current budget is limited. But there will be prospects of future business. $75 is intended for attorney fees only I will pay all the filling fees to the govt seperately
Location: New York City
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $75 for attorney fees
This was just so appalling, I had to respond. Here's what I wrote:
Legal Zoom charges more than the $75 you propose to pay to an attorney for that kind of work. In fact, I know attorneys charge on average over $300 for this. $75 is a low hourly rate for even a BRAND NEW attorney (as in just got admitted to the bar yesterday). I've written business letters of 2-3 pages for $250.
Stop insulting attorneys with your pitiful $75 for hours & hours of work! It costs more than that to pay for ONE attorney CLE class (CLE classes are required in the state of NY for an attorney to keep a NY license) & on average, lawyers have to undertake hundreds of THOUSANDS of DOLLARS of NON-DISCHARGEABLE loan debt just to get licensed.
You'd be wise to remember the saying "you get what you pay for."
Signed, a licensed NY attorney who wouldn't set up a relative's corporation for $75
The subject heading was "What You NEED is a Clue." By the way, completely true that Legal Zoom would charge more than $75 to do this sort of thing in NY.
I have no idea who some of the people who post ads on Craig's List think they are. Does this person honestly think any attorney worth their salt would take this? And with that kind of regard for legal services, do you really think an attorney is going to give a damn about you or go above & beyond?
Shit like this is why I no longer go above & beyond unless I know the client will appreciate it & won't even consider representing anyone who can't be vetted in some way by someone I know. You bet I wouldn't set up a relative's corporation for $75, especially with the headache relatives will give you in general.
If you want a volunteer lawyer, try going through a legal clinic or volunteer group. Lawyers will happily volunteer time there. Case in point: I'm doing this in a couple months for a cause & demographic I care about + have some knowledge on. Doing that benefits lawyers since they get cache in their circle, are eligible for CLE credit & will not have to pay out of pocket for anything more than transportation. They don't have to get malpractice insurance, set up an office, pay for a PO Box or incur the kinds of costs this simpleton & his/her ilk want to impose on lawyers.
The amount doesn't bother me nearly as much as the total lack of respect for what lawyers have to go through & the realities of working in the field. Low amounts like this say to attorneys "I have no respect for your trade or expertise. I don't respect you as a professional either."
Hating attorneys because they do not want to be low-balled or perform freebies on command is not justified. These people should make these requests to their friends & inner circle instead of posting them as ads on Craig's List. I've said as much to posters asking for egregious and appalling things, oftentimes things I'd expect from a networking group of peers where the affiliation is based on trust, an interest in helping others & so forth.
If you don't want ridicule, save these kinds of favors for your personal contacts & don't waste the time of people seeking legitimate PAYING employment.
One more thing. If you want me to send you personal information, you'll have to identify yourself first. There are too many scam artists and people trying to use lawyers to perpetuate illegal activity (read some of my prior entries). There are even bored, unemployed lawyers wasting good money to post ridiculous job ads, collect resumes & ridicule responders to the stupid ad. Such an incident was documented in "Above the Law" (some legal tabloid blog a bunch of big shot lawyers read, for those who don't know or like me, could really care less about).
Maybe they ought to be working as sociologists or psychologists instead since they could classify that as legitimate research vs. time wasting BS that diminishes attorneys & Craig's List even further (if you can believe that's possible). Perhaps they could get grants to fund that research so they'd end up coming out better than just throwing money away on stupidity.
Until you get on board to wipe out law school loan debt or change the bankruptcy law so we're not all living with a six-figure burden until we're all dead, don't whine to me about how you can't get a lawyer to do hours of legal work for $75.