Friday, May 20, 2011

Davey Numberlady's Top Ten Worst Ways to Break the Bad News to a Client

Davey Numberlady is a regular SCOV Law column dedicated to cataloging the small bits of trivia that populate the practice of law.  Today's list focuses on the inevitable bad news phone call that we as attorneys sometimes have to make to our clients.  There is almost never a good way to break bad news to a client who has placed her faith and fortune in our success, but there are a number of bad ways.  Here are ten that Davey would consider to be the worst.  Please add your own in the comment section.

10.  "Remember when I said we couldn't possibly lose?  Well, you will never believe it, but the funniest thing just happened . . ."

9.  "Here is a copy of the decision.  Let me be perfectly honest.  I have a 4:15 tee time.  Let me know how it came out."

8.  "Hello, Mr. Loser?---Jones, Jones, Jones!  I meant Jones!"

7.  "Well, sure, in hindsight the court's threat of sanctions should've keyed me into the problem."

6.  "Dear Client,  You have lost.  Your case is very important to us. If you want to appeal this decision, please dial 102 now.  If you do not want to appeal, please dial 108 now.  If you are considering a malpractice action against your attorney, please stay on the line, and the next available attorney will try to talk you out of it. . . ."

5.  "Let's just say, hypothetically, that the judge ruled against each and everyone of our claims.  Just hypothetically now."

4.  "I don't see what you're crying about.  I'm the one the judge called an incompetent hack."

3.  "It's really not a big deal---I've lost a dozen cases just like yours."

2.  "I just hate to lose!  So do not think that I am happy right now."

1.  "Uh, yeah, so---this is a surprise, really---seems that our position went completely against about a dozen prior Vermont cases.  Guess I should've read 'em, huh, Slugger?"

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