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Solo In Chicago

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Professionalism rant

Here are three experiences I've had in the last 10 days:

Chicago paternity court, 32 W. Randolph. I represent a mother and there's a visitation dispute. My client alleges "serious endangerment" to the child and won't allow visitation with the father. So father petitions court for visitation. The result is sort of a judge-brokered compromise to allow visitation with no overnights and then send the parties to mediation for longer-term resolution. Fine, my client was satisfied with this result. Father is represented by a pregnant, female attorney. So the judge gives us this compromise and we get out of the courtroom to draft the orders. Father's lawyer just starts yelling at my client regarding how dispicable it is of her to deny this father visitation and goes on and on. And "as a mother...." yada, yada, yada.

Real estate deal #1. There's no contract in place and parties are negotiating a deal. I send out my first modification letter to seller's lawyer. I get a call from a furious real estate agent saying we had a deal, the parties had already agreed to everything (despite the fact this letter was my first communication). And asorted other personal attacks. And of course this is my first phone conversation with this gentleman.

Real estate deal #2. I represent a potential buyer in a deal. So we're in the attorney modification period. We make some modification requests that seller denies. I think the case law says this rejection terminates deal because our request is a counteroffer. My rant isn't tied to the legal disagreement, reasonable people can disagree. However, seller's attorney and I do disagree, which is fine. But then lawyer sends a letter to me with language directly saying I'm "negligent" and have no experience in real estate.

Whatever happened to the concept of the "detached professional?" Are these instances above the norm out there? Am I too detached? How does this kind of behavior help clients? Is it driven by clients?

My position is that the great professional zealously advocates for his client but also remains independent in his judgment so that he can tell his client if the client is wrong if he needs to. Are these lawyers above just running up fees for themselves or what? Should these people be "professionals" or bouncers at bars?

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