Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 01:25 PM
Posted by Administrator
Putting aside all of the great things lawyers do besides defending the innocent and guilty, writing both enforceable and unenforceable contracts ("It's not worth the paper it's written on."), getting huge jury verdicts for innocent victims (and some fraudsters), and inspiring prime time TV....lawyers facilitate transactions. Here is an example: if a collection agent cheats you, there is no recourse...if a lawyer cheats you, you may be able to get him/her thrown out of the Bar (the professional organization specific to each state where admission and membership is required to hold yourself out as a "lawyer" or "attorney" reference is intended to bars that serve alcohol, though, getting thrown out of one of those is arguable worse. And, because you have recourse (threat hanging over the lawyer's head), you are more likely to trust a lawyer-engineered deal and, so, more likely to make a deal. Transaction=facilitated!


A few credits short of college graduation and a few years before law school, I rented an ESKIMO PIE ice cream truck from the local ESKIMO PIE distributor and sold ice cream. Before taking to the streets on my own, I spent a day with an experienced ESKIMO PIE Ice Cream Man and his first lesson was: "Don't hand them the ice cream until they hand you the money."

This, I thought, was rude, and when I made my very first sale, I handed the high school girl a Dr. Pepper (we also sold soda) and she ran off with it. So, I drove the truck after her....down alleys, the wrong-way on one way streets...finally cornering her against a building (note: NOT an exaggeration). "I opened your soda, do you really want it back?", she said "Yes.", I said.

Maybe word went out on the street that I was an idiot and I'd chase people down with my truck if they didn't pay or, maybe the high school girl was the only bad seed in town, but, I continued to hand out ice cream (and soda) before I was paid and never was stiffed again. Later in life...after law school and some legal experience, I realized out that having a lawyer act as escrow agent would have been another approach to the conundrum: the lawyer would hold the ice cream and the money in his hand and, when he had both, would hand the buyer their ice cream and the seller(me) the money. Lawyers act as escrow agents all the time: "Hold the settlement papers until the check clears."

Don't trust the collection agent that if you pay the money, they'll leave you alone forever? If there is a lawyer involved, communicate with him or her. If the lawyer breaks their word they might be risking their ticket to practice law.

(Though I note that it is an ethical violation for another lawyer to suggest that a non-performing lawyer be threatened with a Bar Complaint...which begs the question: Who makes up this stuff?)

Editor's Note: The foregoing was penned by blog contributor Bob Smith who....with the snow melting in Northern Wyoming, was able to make it across the border to one of the Tim Hortons Donuts in Medicine Hat, Alberta for the first time since early April. About his visit, Bob reports: "I am very excited about trying the new Frozen Hot Chocolate! late August, it should be warm enough for that."

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