Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Losing Faith in the Big Firms

This week I have been working on a case that never fails to surprise and amaze me. Most surprising is the carelessness of the attorney for the opposing party. This is the same guy I complained about in my post “Even Law Has Its Fools”

Anyway, this guy works for a huge law firm with offices in multiple states- but it would seem from his work that he doesn’t know a thing about practicing law. In his original Complaint he alleges only one claim for relief. However, we just receive a pleading from him in which he provides support for two new claims that are not listed or mentioned in the complaint—you couldn’t even imply them from the facts of the complaint.

Washington is a notice pleading state, so that means all you have to do is give fair notice to your opponent about the nature of your claim and the grounds for relief. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can wait until late in the litigation process, when your original claim seems to be losing ground, to randomly spring new claims on the other side! This attorney blatantly lied in a responsive pleading by saying that we “misrepresented” his original complaint to have only one claim. Rereading his complaint, there are no facts which could be construed in any way to show any elements of the new claims.

I have to add that this guy turned his response in to our office about half an hour before the cutoff. He had several days to turn it in but no, he put it off until the last minute. What if our office had closed half an hour early?

Also, today we caught the plaintiff in a blatant, bold-faced lie. A lie that, had it been true, was necessary to establish her main claim. More importantly we have the documents, the “smoking gun,” to prove that she lied. If the attorney was any good, he would have double checked these documents himself before relying on them in his pleading. I know that’s the first thing I would have done.

Last, but not least, I found at least TWO simple spelling mistakes in his responsive pleading as well as a sentence that was lacking a word- and a verb for that matter! Sheesh! (Ok it may seem like I am nitpicking this guy apart, but seriously an attorney who makes big bucks has no excuse for being so careless- and your spelling and grammar establishes your credibility before the judge- that is what we have always been taught in my school). My faith in these big firms is dwindling ever so quickly.


Law Student Hot Mama said...

FYI - lots of big firms use the tactic of turning stuff in right before the other office closes . . . generally something like 4:45 pm on Friday afternoon.

Also, I've met lots of attorneys (big firms and small) about whom I have doubts that they ever attended law school.

newduck said...

Haha! I used to work at one of NYC's top firms. They ONLY hired the top 10% of the class from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and, if you were lucky and slept with someone important, Columbia. Oddly, some of these people were the biggest tards I've ever met in my life. To be fair, some were really smart and also excellent people, but most were kind of off.