Sunday, May 01, 2011
My Sunday Feeling
Most people have the idea that lawyers hate each other when they are in litigation. Some cases unfortunately do get personal. But the fact of the matter is that I tend to get along with most attorneys that I do business with. And I actually have become friends with other attorneys that I only met through some pretty nasty cases. I mean, we don't try to do each other any favors and we don't expect any in return. But most folks realize that we have a job to do and that once it's quitting time, it's time to get a beer and discuss baseball. Which is one of the reason some consumers of legal services think it's a rigged game. They cannot conceive of their lawyer not wanting an outcome as badly as they do. Well, it's personal to them. It had better not be to their lawyer.
I became friends with D, an attorney in Oxford, Mississippi, in the course of negotiating a settlement in order to keep my client from getting sued by hers'. Quite frankly, she and I got off to a rocky start. By way of introduction, she hit me with about a 12 page demand letter. This resulted in my calling her to advise her that I had been around forever and that I had never seen the theory she was espousing. She wrongly assumed that I was casting aspersions upon her relative youth, as compared to me at least, and took offense.
Way to go you slick talking devil you.
Anyway, she advised me in no uncertain terms that I pretty much didn't know what I was talking about. This forced me to resort-gasp!-to the lawbooks to look up the citations in her letter. Sonuvabitch. She was right. But she was likewise wrong on the exact scope of the liability for my client. Point for me. We discussed my findings in our second call. We started talking about working out a way to a resolution of the issues before us. Turned out she wasn't a ballbuster. And I gather she came to understand that I wasn't a condescending jerk. For whatever reason, everybody cooled off. And from that point on we were fine.
Since that time our dealings have been pleasant in the extreme and we always take time to visit after we conclude our business. And so it was last week that we came to a discussion about home equity lines of credit of all damned things. D and her husband are thinking about getting one for their house. I told her that mine sure came in handy when it came time to do home repairs on my little house here in the People's Republic of Hillcrest.
"It seems like there's always something to do on a house," she said.
"Especially when your house was built in 1927," I said.
"Your house is that old?"
"Do you live in an older neighborhood?"
" I do. It's called Hillcrest. First suburb of Little Rock. The rich white folks moved up the hill where the breezes were cooler than downtown. "
"My husband's parents live in Norman, Oklahoma. When we go see them, we generally stop in Little Rock to break up the drive and to let the kids stretch their legs. Last time we were in Little Rock we drove around in a really neat part of town that was mostly older homes."
"Yeah. We had pizza at a really good place in that neighborhood. Place had a funny name. Oh what was it called? There was some kind of an ethnic bakery behind it."
"Damgoode Pies?" I asked.
" Yes! Damgoode Pies!" D exclaimed. "You know it?"
"Know it?" I said. "I live about a half mile from it. Eat there a lot."
Laughter on both ends of the line.
"Well next time we are coming through maybe we can stop and you can join us there for pizza."
" Sounds like a plan to me. Be happy to show y'all around."
Now what are the odds that a person I do business with from Oxford, Mississippi would have decided to stop about two good tee shots away from me to get pizza for she and her family? And that the only reason I deduced where they had eaten was because I had mentioned my old Hillcrest house during a discussion about the usefulness of a LOC. Which jogged her memory about her last visit here.
What are the odds of that? Not very good. Of that there can be no doubt.
And at times like these, I am grateful for the continued capacity to be amazed.