Even though lawyers are often stereotyped as money-hungry, unethical piranhas, up until recently I’d only felt admiration and respect for mine. Why? Cause she’d gone through a tough divorce too – she was left almost pennliness to support herself and her two kids. Thus her decision to become a lawyer was born out of a genuine desire to help empower divorcing women. Noble intentions, for sure.
I also respected her immensely for her 25 years of legal experience. I mean, can you imagine dealing with the non-strop stress and emotional turmoil of couples’ crap every day for 25 years? Maybe charging clients $500/hour helps… but I still think I’d want to shoot myself!
But about a month ago, something happened that caused me to question my lawyer’s ‘nobleness.’ I don’t know…maybe I had her up on too high a pedestal. Without going into too much detail, let me say it involved her demanding another huge retainer in full, which I wasn’t expecting. And when I asked if I could pay a portion of it right away and the remainder in two weeks, I was flat out told, ‘No.’ Consequently I had to rush borrow money off my parents (which was very embarrassing) so I wouldn’t be dropped as her client.
Now right away, you might be thinking I shouldn’t have take her ‘retainer policy ‘personally. After all, she had a job to do and if she started making exceptions for me, then what would stop ALL her clients from asking for late payment privileges?
But I couldn’t help it – I DID take it personally. I’d already paid her $8,000 in legal fees – in full and on time – and much of it still sits on my back as debt. Instead of spending that money on my kids or my family, we’ve all gone without and continue to live meagerly as I attempt to force my ex to take some financial/parental responsibility (he abandoned us last year and took off with his new girlfriend).
My point is, my lawyer KNOWS this. She KNOWs my history, she knows my circumstances. She KNOWS how hard things have been for me and the children both emotionally and financially. She once sat in similar shows to mine, too…doesn’t she remember? So why couldn’t she care enough to relax on her payment policy just a teensy bit? Really – would waiting two weeks for full payment cramp her million dollar lifestyle THAT much?
Call me sensitive if you want, but the fact that she was prepared to leave me and my kids stranded and not even look back, upset and disheartened me very much – to the point I even felt sick to my stomach. And I wondered: Had I been naive from the start? Are most lawyers as shallow as they’re stereotyped to be? Or over time, does all the drama and corruption of the legal field make them that way?
On a positive light – I guess if my lawyer is that callous towards me, her client (and someone she apparently likes) – I suppose she’ll be a total Pitbull in court.
Right now, however, that thought almost disgusts me more. Guess that’s why I’m not a lawyer.
I Grew Balls: How One Woman Confronted The Other Woman