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Thoughts on Company Sponsored Legal Plan Lawyers

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The last week or so has been pretty hectic for my sister because she’s closing on a condo today up in Boston and its been horrible dealing with the seller, his lawyer, and her lawyer. Her real estate attorney was provided to her, free of charge I believe, because she’s a teacher in the Boston school system and on the whole she believes the guy is pretty much incompetent. Meanwhile, the seller basically refuses to speak to my sister or my father and instead wants everything to go through his blood-sucking attorney who hones his skills on rocks. (My sister quickly learned why everyone hates lawyers. Oh, to any lawyers out there, I’m sure you’re a nice person when you’re not in $3287429834/hr lawyer mode, but when you are… everyone basically hates your guts, hope you enjoy the cash!)

I’ve never used a lawyer supplied by any legal plans because I’ve never worked at a company that offered them. In fact, only last year did my former employer offer a legal plan. The legal plan works much like a health insurance plan, you pay premiums in order to get a certain number of consultations with a lawyer and they help you handle anything lawyers do. In fact, since they’re being paid, they’ll probably have a beer with you if you really wanted to because they just love money and don’t care about anything else. (okay that was an unfair dig but I think I’m okay with that)

Anyway, my sister had one lawyer handling her case and then that lawyer decided to go on vacation, dumping the paperwork on another lawyer. This second lawyer wasn’t very good and my sister was trying to get her replaced with someone better; this second lawyer probably found out, got pissed off, and dropped the level of service a notch. Ultimately, there are some complications and the seller’s lawyer basically starts taking advantage of the fact that my sister isn’t a blood-sucking lawyer, and her lawyer isn’t really doing much to put up a fight; which basically enrages me. The seller is being a dick, his attorney is making his fee by demanding stupid crap and threatening to terminate the contract and taking all the earnest money, and her attorney is pretty much a worthless lump because his feelings were hurt.

Now with my sister, I believe she doesn’t pay anything for the service she’s getting; this means that the person receiving the service is not the same person paying for the service. Anytime you have that scenario, the company or person providing the service will likely not care as much as they would if the receiver of services and payer of services were the same person. (I hope that made sense) This is why I think that company sponsored legal plan lawyers probably are not the best bang for your buck. While you do pay them, you don’t directly pay them and so it’s harder to directly fire their ass if they perform poorly. Hopefully I will never need a lawyer, but if I do, I want to pay for him or her myself so I can fire him or her myself if they aren’t doing what I need them to do.

I do admit that I don’t know the full story with my sister and all those attorneys but suffice it to say, some people acted inappropriately regardless of who was at fault for it. While I’m sure not all lawyers are bad, there are certainly enough of them to fuel a pretty strong dislike for them in the court of public opinion. Okay, now that my bitter stream of consciousness rant is over, I wanted to thank you for reading and feel free to attack or defend lawyers.

Here are some good lawyer jokes: :)
What’s black and brown and look great on lawyers? Dobermans.
Why does the American Bar Association prohibit sex between attorneys and their clients? To prevent the client for being billed twice for what is essentially the same service.
Why do they bury lawyers 27 feet under? ‘Cuz deep, deep down, they’re good people!
What do lawyers use as contraceptives? Their personalities.

Three doctors were standing around and started talking about which patients were the easiest to operate on.
The first doctor says Germans, because everything inside is neat and orderly and always in its place.
The second doctor said Japanese patients, because you open them up and all there is is a circuit board to interchange.
No! No! You’re both wrong, said the third doctor, Lawyers are the easiest to operate on. They’re gutless. The only organs they have are lips and assholes — and those are interchangeable!

{ 11 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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11 Responses to “Thoughts on Company Sponsored Legal Plan Lawyers”

  1. GeekMan says:

    Wow! I guess you really do hate lawyers! Well, I like to make fun of lawyers too, but then again I have a lot of friends who are lawyers and you know what? Most lawyers love lawyer jokes. In fact, if you want to hear the best lawyer jokes, ask a lawyer. I’m sure they know a few you’ve never heard.

    As for your sister, well, I hate to say it, but you get what you pay for. She might want to simply fire her attorney and hire another independent of her office so she can get the legal advice she needs. I’ve had many, many occasions to use attorneys (as buyer, seller and for general business) and I will forevermore advocate finding yourself the best lawyer you can afford for EVERY instance in which you find it necessary to have one. Scrimping on an attorney will almost always be trouble. One bit of advice my Grandfather gave me was this,

    “Always be willing to pay top dollar for medical help, legal services and anniversary gifts because if you go cheap on any of them you could very well wind up dead.”

    And I’ve never found fault with that advice.

  2. the Wizard says:

    What do you call 1,000,000 lawyers tie together at the bottom of the sea….. A good start!

  3. BC says:

    From an actual lawyer:

    Tell another joke, we get paid by the hour.

    but seriously, this guy is incompetent, so it goes…and yes i do enjoy the cash

  4. Dustin says:

    If i were in your shoes, i would be enraged as well. what i would like to know, is what the name of the company that your sister is getting her legal services from. I am actually an independent representative of the nations largest legal service provider, and from what i’ve read in your article, your sister and her company is getting ripped of by yet another “Pretender” legal service provider.

    this upsets me, because our company truly is trying to make a significant difference on the justice system in america, because frankly, it’s messed up and it needs to change now.

    i hope she gets this whole mess resolved soon, and with as little headache as possible.

    feel free to contact me to see if my company may be able to rectify this situation at no cost.

    p.s. love the lawyer jokes!

    • jim says:

      Dustin, while I appreciate your intentions, since I don’t know the full details I don’t want to divulge that (plus I don’t know who they are yet). I don’t, however, think she was being ripped off or anything, I just think the guy wasn’t particularly good at his job which can happen in any field. Law is simply a very expensive field to be bad at your job in. :)

  5. KMC says:

    Jim, it sounds like you’re a great brother.

    You nailed it about insurance. In this case it’s legal insurance, but health insurance has the same agency problem. The consumer isn’t the payer (at least not directly and sometimes not mostly). As a result, there’s no incentive to keep costs down on the consumer’s part (not the issue here) and there’s little incentive for the provider to give good customer service. They get paid either way.

  6. Mike says:

    I had a similar experience, but I don’t necessarily feel that my lawyer was incompetent, just not the “shark” kind that the seller’s hired, and I think our bad experience had as much to do with the sellers as their lawyer.

    They didn’t do the repairs they agreed to after the home inspection, did some repairs in a completely different and unacceptable way. This was after I had agreed to move up the closing date TWICE at the request of the sellers. Their lawyer was disagreeable on absolutely everything, and was nasty to our lawyer in every phone and written interaction–she even got nasty about where the closing would be. My lawyer was baffled as to why they would make the real estate sales process so difficult.

    At the closing they basically refused to do anything about the repairs they skipped and did wrong, so we were left with “take it or leave it” with a very different deal to what had been agreed to. We came VERY close to walking away from the table, but in the end we decided it was better to take the deal than to start a lawsuit for our earnest money and start looking for a house again.

    We were also selling our previous home at the same time, and that process was in stark contrast to the other one. We used the same lawyer, and the buyers made it as easy as I could have possibly imagined. They offered, we countered, they accepted, they SKIPPED the home inspection, and they closing was effortless.

    One other key point–our buying experience was a FSBO, so no real estate agents were involved. When we sold, we used agents. I think that can make a big difference as well–the agents get paid to make the deal happen, which means a big part of their job is keeping everybody happy. Without the agents, the primary interface point is the lawyers, who have no vested interest in seeing the deal close.

  7. Terri says:

    Yep, everyone hates lawyers, until they need one. I agree with the above comment about you get what you pay for. Good luck to you sister.

  8. Argonautica says:

    1. No one here has the full story. The outside appearance to you or us of your sister’s lawyer’s actions may or may not be an accurate representation of his competence or lack thereof.

    2. Lawyers are people. Roughly 50% of them were in the bottom half of their graduating class, and, although that doesn’t necessarily correlate with competency as a practitioner, it might.

    3. Pre-paid legal, at least from the outside, looks a lot like insurance defense work: trying to juggle a very large caseload that you bid at cut rates.

    4. Regardless of any of the above, the lawyer has an ethical duty to zealously represent the interests of your sister. She needs to communicate with him and if she feels he is not doing his ethical duty, she should consider hiring her own attorney.

    5. Most, not all, but most of the lawyers I have met are decent, hardworking people who generally identify with their clients and do their best to help them through difficult situations. And most, not all, but most do not deserve the reputation that is thrust on them like in this post. Some, of course, are just jerks. Just like the population at large from which lawyers are derived.

    At any rate, good luck with your sister, I hope everything works out.

    • shadox says:

      “Roughly 50% of them were in the bottom half of their graduating class…”

      I think you could even say that exactly 50% of them were in the bottom half… :-)


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