The “Junkyard Lawyer” Myth

The Sound and the Fury

 Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Scene V

The potential new client says:   “I am looking for a junkyard lawyer, a bulldog lawyer!”

This statement from a potential client always causes me these disjunctive reactions:

  •  This person has never retained a lawyer before so is a “virgin” when it comes to working with a lawyer, or
  • This person must have a bottomless pit of money to throw down the drain thrashing through a legal dispute.

The last thing any rationaJunkyard lawyerl client wants, at least 99.9% of the time, is to become engaged in a long, interminable legal battle where predictably the only clear winners are the lawyers who are charging their clients by the hour.

Think of this ugly image: two bulldog lawyers scrabbling about in the junkyard, jaws locked in vice grips on each other’s shoulders, spinning round and round amid swirls of dust—“sound and fury signifying nothing!”

 What is the thinking of a potential client seeking a junkyard lawyer? [Read more…]

The Client Always Has Some Responsibility in Causing the Problem

Sharing Responsibility for Failures in Communications

This is a difficult one for a lot of people: helping the client to recognize that in some way, large or small, the client has had some responsibility in causing the problem. How so?

  Failures to communicate lead to problems:communicating with tin cans

Usually and most obvious, there has been a breakdown in communications between the client and the client’s antagonist or opponent that has caused the problem or at least exacerbated the problem.

Of course, as a matter of definition, communications are two-party endeavors.

It takes two to communicate effectively. And, for communications to breakdown and fail, usually there is some failure by both parties to the communication.

And, ironically, usually both parties cannot see that they both share in the failure to communicate effectively.

Each party just keeps on doing the same old ineffectual thing. Here is a case in point.

Being a movie fan, I like to use snippets of great movie dialogue to make a point. The first such snippet comes from a 1967 classic movie, Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman: [Read more…]