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The One Where I Fail to Swim With the Sharks
October 22, 2003 - 7:47 p.m.
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I have a client, for whom I've been doing work through Hoover's firm. This client hasn't paid his bill in a while. On the one hand, he's a problem client. His inability to keep track of his own affairs has accounted for many of his legal problems, and he occasionally lies to me about important facts in his case, which really makes me look like an idiot in court when the truth comes out and surprises me (and we lose because I couldn't prepare). However, I haven't been grumbling about it because I feel some sympathy for this guy. He lost his job a few months ago and has been living on an unemployment check. I know he's had trouble just keeping up with his mortgage. He's been promising to get a loan to pay some of the people he owes, including me, but it hasn't been happening. He also speaks very poor English (not a native speaker), and any conversation with him is painful anyway, and he doesn't understand most of what I say to him and I don't understand most of what he says to me, and he's going to have a lot of trouble finding a new job anyway. Hoover keeps telling me that I should drop this client. But, feeling sorry for the guy, I have been continuing work on one final motion I had filed on his behalf, with the idea that after this work I would stop.
I scheduled a meeting with this client, to talk over the pending motion. Hoover happened to be at the office at the same time. Hoover doesn't have an actual office for his firm; he works out of his home, and uses a rent-an-office set-up in a nice office building to meet with clients. He happened to be there at the same time as I, actually a half-an-hour earlier, but his client hadn't shown up.
When I told Hoover the name of the client I was meeting, he again told me that I should drop the guy, and I again said I would after this last motion. Then Hoover told me that he wanted to meet with my client to see if he could get money out of the guy. I explained to Hoover I had talked about money with the guy the past several times I met with him, but he's unemmployed and just doesn't have the money. To which Hoover asked if he needed to rough the guy up, at which point I did offer to turn my head.
So my client showed up, and Hoover came with me to meet him. The conversation went something like this (and I'm not even going to try to replicated the nearly incomprehensible English of my client- whom we'll call J. Wellington Wimpy- because I just can't replicate it with any sort of accuracy):
So Wimpy went to get his checkbook.
Before Wimply came back, I admitted my awe to Hoover. Every time I talked to Wimpy, he was flat broke. When Hoover talks to him, he has seven hundred dollars. And I didn't know how he could have seven hundred dollars, because he only has that unemployment check. Hoover admitted that he was perhaps a little bit cold about collecting the money, but he had learned that he needed to be cold when it comes to financial matters.
By the way, after Hoover left with check in hand (half of which goes to me, by the way), I learned that Wimpy did obtain a loan recently (and as it turns out, the loan was bigger than Wimpy indicated to me). Yes, he fully intended to stiff me.