Readers Mailbag, Volume 272

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a readers mailbag here, mostly because there isn’t much to say about the ten millionth email offering ten free “leads” if only I attend a conference by the city bar where a couple of biglaw washouts will teach me how to become famous on twitter for two ethics credits.

Unless, of course, you think that would be something worthwhile to read about, but I digress. Incoming was this email:

Dear Simple Justice:

I’m a small-firm lawyer with a modest practice in the midwest. Most of my clientele come from referrals, but I do have a modest online presence. Part of this online presence was “claiming” my profile on Avvo. I suppose I did this for fear that someone else might claim it instead, which was the dumbest assumption I’ve ever made as a lawyer.

Five years passed, and the only thing that happened for me at Avvo were modest increases in my score (based on longevity, I presume) and monthly cold calls from individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder. It never put a single additional penny in my pocket. If anything, it robbed me of time I could’ve otherwise spent with my paying clients.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Avvo, directing me to an individual seeking my legal services. I called him, prepared for any contingency with my battle-worn DSM-IV open on my desk. Amazingly, the potential client was sane, understood his legal issues, and had a realistic view of the value of legal services. So far, he has been a very good client. Though, I am still vigilant for any signs of schizophrenia.

What is happening? This is extremely uncharacteristic for Avvo referrals and has caused me undue stress, increased paranoia, and sleeplessness.  It feels like a test, observed by Avvo power-brokers and their digital inner-circle. I don’t know what to do and believe I am being watched by “low men.” The stress this has caused is beginning to manifest in unseemly ways, such as infrequent bathing and grooming habits. Last night, I wet the bed.

I can’t keep living this way, thinking that Avvo is a legitimate and viable tool for a legal practice. Please help.

Sincerely,
Soaked in Sioux Falls

Dear Sioux,

I am deeply sorry to hear of this. No one should have to endure a modest practice in the Midwest, and while you neglect to say, you must have done something horribly wrong to end up there.  That’s punishment enough.

But to get a sane, paying client with an actual case off Avvo is, well, quite a shock to the system.  I can only imagine your answering the phone, picturing which form of tin foil hat the caller was wearing, and wondering what horrible words would be used to attack you for not loving them enough to appreciate their plight and demand to represent them for free.  Yes, I’ve gotten calls from Avvo too, you see.

Yet, never forget the blind squirrel, the stopped clock, the possibility that one sane person will inadvertently stumble onto Avvo and, inexplicably, find his way to you.  It happened once to me.  That was in 2009.  It’s never happened again.

Here you are, the fortunate beneficiary of Avvo’s largesse. Good on you. Then again, given the wealth of lawyer options in Sioux Falls, there may have been little other choice. But let’s not denigrate your worthiness and just enjoy the moment. [Trigger Warning: pessimistic outlook ahead.] It will likely never happen again.

Now, a bit of about you.

What is happening? This is extremely uncharacteristic for Avvo referrals and has caused me undue stress, increased paranoia, and sleeplessness.  It feels like a test, observed by Avvo power-brokers and their digital inner-circle. I don’t know what to do and believe I am being watched by “low men.” The stress this has caused is beginning to manifest in unseemly ways, such as infrequent bathing and grooming habits. Last night, I wet the bed.

Yes, it can be very traumatic when the world appears to spin backwards on its axis, when the laws of nature are suspended and an Avvo referral actually pans out. And certainly the mystical powers of the “low men,” the god-like masters of Avvo, Mark Britton and Josh King, get into your head.

This is merely a manifestation of the impossible coming to pass. Sure, their powers are strong, like voodoo punanny, as they cast spells over seemingly normal lawyers to get them to pay money for the joy of getting calls from the crazies. But they cannot see into your soul, or your law office. It may seem that way, but they play upon your fears, your desires, your silent telephone.

Toughen up, Sioux.  Don’t let one bizarre incident seize your life, turn you into a bowl of jello, twist your head and make you believe. Much as I hate to sound cruel, there’s a pretty good chance that the caller dialed the wrong number, and that Avvo confused your profile with Gerry Spence’s. Do you have a fringed buckskin jacket?

As for wetting the bad last night, that’s just disgusting. Limit your liquor intake before bedtime and get that prostate checked.  It’s never too early to engage in “self-care,” which will likely include the sound of snapping latex and KY jelly. Don’t be afraid.

Yours,
SHG

P.S. Should this ever happen again, I strongly urge you to contact Brian Tannebaum rather than me. He’s much more familiar with the voodoo of Avvo and nocturnal enuresis. Plus, you kinda weird me out.

14 thoughts on “Readers Mailbag, Volume 272

  1. Patrick Maupin

    Excellent advice all around, but with his new windfall, he may want to consider investing in a new DSM-5. One quote I saw said:

    Critics have accused the DSM-5 of lowering diagnostic thresholds across the board, making it far easier for a person to be diagnosed with a mental disorder.

    I don’t see why that’s problematic — anybody who lives in the real world knows that there’s a whole heap of undiagnosed crazy walking around out there.

      1. SHG Post author

        Yeah, that’s the second time in a row I had to correct your code. I’m loving my mad coding skillz. For an old lawyer. Hehehehe.

      1. Patrick Maupin

        There you go, conflating the real world and the virtual world again. I thought we discussed this, but somehow it’s just not getting through to you.

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