This week in Young, Hungry & Committed, Virtual Office NYC attorney, Vivian Sobers, is challenged by two angry legal professionals, but doesn’t take the bait.
Last week I made an appearance in Bronx County to help out another firm. When I got there at 9:00 A.M., for some reason, it was about 100 degrees inside the courthouse.
I went to the clerk to check in and she tells me the case is on for 2:00 P.M. not 9:30 A.M. like I had been told.
I was there to get an adjournment, so I ask the clerk if I can get it. She advises me that she cannot do anything without opposing counsel’s consent.
I call opposing counsel in a huff because the temperature is unbearable, and ask for the attorney. The secretary is the only one there. Obviously, she cannot give me consent.
I try, as politely as possible, to ask her if she has any attorneys in the courthouse that can give me consent. I would have chased them down if it meant not having to come back!
The secretary tells me “sure his name is X and he’s in 319C.” I go to 319 and it is the accounting office for the Surrogates Court.
So I am thinking, maybe I heard her wrong. I call the bitchy secretary back and she semi yells in my ear: “It’s 390C!!”
I promptly go back down to the third floor (my courtroom was on the fifth), but as I am making my way there I am thinking, 390?!?! That does not sound right.
I go down anyway and do a quick lap around the steamy 3rd floor hallway. The room numbers end at 336.
The she-devil secretary had just sent me chasing my tail for her own amusement.
Normally I would have ripped someone’s head off, but I am going to the gym now and I am much less ragey.
I laugh and I leave. Score one for the bitchy secretary.
I am requesting something that, if I ask the judge I am 99% likely to get what I want. But she knows that I am working per diem, and she wants to spread a little misery around. She insists that I wait.
Then she starts asking me about the case, mostly because a lot of per diems do not bother figuring out what the case is about especially if you are just getting an adjournment.
But I had prepared. She starts rattling off facts about the case that are totally wrong. I proceed to correct her.
She asks me if I want to settle.
I tell her no.
She asks me why I need an adjournment.
Then she tells me she has to call her client.
In all, I am there an extra hour longer than necessary for no other reason than she wants me to be.
But I was proud. I did not have any outbursts. I am learning to laugh.
She wanted to get me wound up, and I did not take the bait. I did the exact opposite: I just sat there like I had nothing but time.
In the end I got what I wanted, both from the court and for myself: I did not let these angry she-devils drag me down into their miserable world.
Score one for me.
Getting mired down into opposing counsel’s drama is just one mistake attorneys make in their practice.
Get a handle on these other 7 deadly mistakes.
Vivian Sobers is a commercial litigator pursuing a solo law practice right out of law school. She is a client in Law Firm Suites’ Virtual Office Program. Vivian’s weekly blog series “Young, Hungry and Committed” documents the trials and tribulations of a young attorney navigating her way through the challenging world of self-employed legal practice.