What’s This In Reference To?

Many blawgers thrill when they hear the phone ring. New clients are the lifeblood of a small firm, and it all begins with a telephone call.  But when you answer the phone and the caller’s first words are, “I saw your blog and,” what follows is often a trip into a fantasy world beyond your wildest expectations.

I thought of this after a chat yesterday with What About Clients? blawger Dan Hull, who told me about a call he received from a woman who explained that she was betrothed to the Prince of Dubai and was having a tiff with Paris Hilton.  Ah, if I had a nickel for every caller who was having a tiff with Paris Hilton.

As the readership of Simple Justice grew, a different sort of person began to call my office.  People who believed they were kindred souls, who knew terrible secrets of law enforcement conspiracies to topple governments and subjugate the populus.  People who were having a tiff with Paris Hilton.

Nobody warns you about this in advance, so I feel obliged to do so.  There are a lot of crazy people out there, and now they all have access to your telephone number.  They are not shy about calling.  They have something very important to talk to you about, and if there’s one characteristic they share, they like to talk.  They have so very much to say, and you’re the only one who will listen.  You, they explain, will understand them when no one else does.

While there’s been much debate about whether blawging offers the Return on Investment that those in the business of making money off other people blawging suggest, few let on to this unintended consequence.  You see, this surprisingly large coterie of the disaffected go from lawyer to lawyer seeking the right one to handle their challenge to the government’s covert war against them, not to mention their tiff with Paris Hilton.  And they want a lawyer who is not only brave enough, bold enough, smart enough, but willing to take it on contingency.

As soon as the word “blog” comes out of the caller’s mouth, I feel an involuntary shudder.  This is the person who has been refused by lawyer after lawyer, thrown out of offices and threatened with arrest if he continues to call.  He is on a mission, a crusade, and he wants to find his legal soul mate to join him, a Sancho Panzo to his Don Quixote (with Paris Hilton as his Dulcinea).

There are times, when you’re not in the middle of work and perhaps in the mood for some distraction, that these calls can be quite amusing.  Of course, once you’ve taken some time with them, they are inclined to call back regularly in an effort to persuade you to sign on.  After all, you would be one of the only lawyers around to take his call, making you the closest thing possible to normal ear he’s got.

The hard part is that once in a while, the odd caller isn’t nearly as insane as he seems, and may in fact be correct in his beliefs and sincere in his need for your services.  After all, Paris Hilton does have a tendency to get into tiffs with others.

Just don’t take it on contingency.

5 comments on “What’s This In Reference To?

  1. Hull

    Here’s what’s also frightening:

    1. We took ourselves out of the Yellow Pages years ago; we were getting too many calls from small businesses and individuals. Both are a pain in the ass–and rarely worth any firm’s time.

    2. And we do not “blog for clients”. Ironically, to some perhaps, we are very proud of the fact that we have NEVER received a phone call about new work from an entity we do not know as a result of a blog post. No kidding.

    3. Our website, further, is just a business card.

    4. In this case, the website, of all things, failed us. What’s disturbing, and instructive, about that call we got on our Pittsburgh office voice mail–no matter how frightening, Julie I return each and every call from the rabble and get them to the right lawyer in another firm–is that it began with general Google a search and led caller to our website. We all along have intended our website to scream:

    “We work for longstanding clients who know what they are doing with lawyers. They are sophisticated–and some of them have even traveled outside their state, counties, provinces and cantons. Don’t pick up the phone and call us unless you are a GC, CFO or rep of a non-wanker company.”

    So we need to change our website.

  2. SHG

    So it probably didn’t help that I put an ad in the Yellow Pages for you that said, se habla wanker.

  3. Hull

    Ah. Am beginning to piece this all together. I can be slow. But the caller in this case DID speak pitch-perfect and very nicely-nuanced white trash–one of several languages I’ve mastered. Jesus, Scott, did you place that ad, too?

  4. Rick Horowitz

    Ha! I had one of these callers not long after I started writing my first law blog. Well, I was lucky, somehow she stuck to email.

    The nice thing about that is that some time after I made the mistake of responding to her first email (she saved talk about the city murdering people to silence them until her second email), I realized the really cool thing about email: it doesn’t matter if it’s short or long, the delete key works the same! ;)

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