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Carrying water--and when to put it down - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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Carrying water--and when to put it down [Sep. 14th, 2015|01:01 pm]
Zoethe
I just got a motion for a trustee to dismiss one of my client's cases for not providing tax returns. When I met with this client, they had not done their tax returns for multiple years. I told them they had to do them and get them to me ASAP. I have heard nothing from them on the subject.

So why do *I* feel guilty? The client is adult, and the consequences were explained. The client was reminded a couple weeks ago.

My calendar is filled with tick reminders to client after client as to when their payments are due--even though they receive the orders and I gave them the dates at the time that we met. I just spent two months straightening out three separate clients who stopped making their chapter 13 payments without ever letting me know.

I'm not a lawyer, I'm a babysitter.

I think I have to get more assertive when I meet with people. I have to tell them the deadlines, but then I have to tell them that they are personally responsible for meeting those deadlines, and if they want me to be their calendar they'd better fork over more money.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2015-09-14 09:02 pm (UTC)
It's interesting how you change over time. I remember a conversation I had with a secretary in the history department about the subject of deadlines. She was talking how various students missed various important deadlines for getting paperwork to her. I suggested that she tell them that the deadlines are actually sooner than they are so that she could remind them of the real deadline so they don't miss them. I don't know why, but I used to take responsibility for helping others make their obligations. I did this when I taught college students too. Now I just shake my head. I take the view now that I'm not somebody else's mommy. I barely have the energy and time to look after my own responsibility, much less looking after other adults.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-14 11:21 pm (UTC)
"I'm not your mother" is exactly how I'm feeling about these people. Argh!
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2015-09-15 01:43 am (UTC)
It becomes more and more clear to me that many people had really crappy/unintentional/ineffective parents who didn't do much parenting at all. Which leads to many many adults who don't get how to do adulting. Ugh.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-15 02:08 am (UTC)
Interestingly, my lack of being parented is what made me be responsible--because there was no one else to do it.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2015-09-15 02:27 am (UTC)
then perhaps we could call your parents' parenting style 'effective' for you ? Some kids will take the reins, and more power to them. I think the most ineffective parenting can be never giving your child opportunity to think/act/struggle for themselves.
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[User Picture]From: cynic51
2015-09-15 01:09 am (UTC)
>>I'm not a lawyer, I'm a babysitter.
I'm not a development manager, I'm a babysitter. The difference is I am actually paid to develop them to the point of not needing babysitting, which I've had mixed results with, developers being developers.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-15 02:07 am (UTC)
Yeah, convincing people that they need to handle their own stuff is always a challenge. I remember one time when I was still a paralegal, working in divorce, and had a client call me, furious with the list of documents we wanted her to pull together--bank statements, credit card statements, taxes, paystubs, etc. She yelled, "What am I hiring you for, if I have to come up with all of that?" I asked politely how she expected *me* to get them, but she was still furious.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2015-09-15 08:25 pm (UTC)
As a paralegal, I do a fair chunk of our pre-trial stuff - Interrogatories, medical stuff. It is AMAZING how irritated clients can get when I ask them to fill out forms asking them such difficult information as "What are your children's names, address and birthdates" and "Who are your current doctors?"
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-16 04:04 pm (UTC)
It boggles me.
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[User Picture]From: enderfem
2015-09-15 10:42 pm (UTC)
So you and I graduated from law school around the same time, IIRC. I recently quit my job and moved across the country, having gotten an opportunity to take some time off as well. I'm being sworn in to the Washington bar next month, but about ten days ago I realized I don't want to practice law anymore, not for awhile, and this? THIS WAS SO MUCH OF WHY. Since I did civil legal services, I had a lot of clients who were...well, not very good at adulting is one way to put it, and yeah, I did a lot of babysitting and hand-holding until I think I gave too much and gave out, so I totally get you. It is hard. I had coworkers who were much better at drawing the line than I was until the last year or so, and I hope you find a good way to do so.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-16 04:09 pm (UTC)
I remind myself that my clients are in bankruptcy because they don't adult well, but it gets exhausting. Last night we had our lawyer dinner and there was a long rambling bitch-fest about this issue.

I'm doing a bit better today.
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From: simulated_knave
2015-09-16 04:13 am (UTC)
I work for Legal Aid as a staff attorney. This is the story of our lives.

Sooner or later, you grow philosophical and let them sink or swim on their own merits. Or go mad.

Really, the problem boils down to that responsible people who have their lives well-organized and know how to function well don't tend to need lawyers as much as those who don't.
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From: anonymousalex
2015-09-18 08:10 pm (UTC)
My first mentor told me that the certificate says "attorney and counselor" for a reason.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2015-09-18 08:13 pm (UTC)
Counselor is not the same as mother.
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From: anonymousalex
2015-09-18 08:23 pm (UTC)
True, but it's what I think of every time a client wants me to go way above and beyond my job.

-Alex
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