43 - June 2010
Author of the The Law is an Ass...Make Sure it Doesn't Bite Yours!
Holding Legal Receptionists, the do's and don't
Every time, I call my lawyer I get put on hold sometimes for up to 20 minutes. It seems to me that lawyers should do more to organize their time.
If I may correct you slightly, it is not the lawyer who puts you On-Hold; it is the Legal Receptionist over whom lawyers often have so little control.
Facilitating client holding is a significant part of a Legal Receptionist’s duties. It allows them time to whizz around all the other clients who they have On-Hold asking “Do you wish to hold?” They have been trained not to wait for a reply.
Lawyers over the centuries have tried all sorts of ways to improve client communication, the telephone being one of them. However, even modern innovations such as voicemail, email and direct lines have caused lawyers to have even less time to deal with client telephone calls.
For lawyers, On-Hold messaging has been a particular issue. Messages such as “Your call is important to us” has only served to antagonize some clients. Lawyers have tried to make their On-Hold messages a promotion for the law firm’s expertise and dedication but after a number of caller suicides such practices have for the most part, been abandoned. On-Hold legal education was so successful that clients too often received the answer to their question and hung up.
Clients may need to accept being placed On-Hold as part of the legal process. After all, it is one of the few free/pro bono services that lawyers provide. Theoretically, a full hour on hold results in significant saving.
Anyway, many clients avoid speaking to their lawyer and prefer being On-Hold.
John Fytit is the name of the central cartoon charter in Law & Disorder cartoons which started in Hong Kong in 1992. He is from the fictitious Hong Kong firm Fytit & Loos (pronounced “Fight it and Lose”). A very unsuccessful name as people read “Fytit” as “Fit it”. The International Problem Page started in 2005 and was merged into Paul Brennan’s blog. But, not before John Fytit started to receive real legal questions from various parts of the world.
The Legal Client’s Dilemma
If you go to your lawyer too soon you may spend money on legal advice about a problem that doesn’t happen. With the exception of many lawyers, most people would feel that this is a waste of money.
However, if you go to your lawyer too late then it usually costs more to solve the legal issue, often a lot more, especially if like many clients you wait until you pants are on fire.
Therefore, the Legal Client’s Dilemma is one of timing. They do not need to know what the law is as their lawyer can quickly and expertly interpret the law to fit their particular situation. They just need to know when a legal issue has reached the stage when they need to go to their lawyer. Also, they should know how not to make the matter worse before they get there. If you are in a legal hole stop digging.
For instance, in divorce you need to see a lawyer as soon as your spouse starts planning to leave you. This is easy to identify. When your spouse is planning to leave you, sex will stop. Now, you may not realise that for a few weeks, or months but as soon as you do, get down to your lawyer before the bank accounts are cleared out and you have been locked out of the matrimonial home.
If you are one of the 40% of spouses waiting for this to happen, you must try not to make the situation worse. For instance, if you cannot stop shouting at your spouse maybe you are not ready for divorce, you should do a few more years of married life to get it out of your system.
Lawyers excel at identifying both aspects of the Legal Client Dilemma, usually after the event.
(c) Paul Brennan 2010 is married to a lawyer and practices on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. He is author of “The Law is an Ass-Make Sure it Doesn’t bite yours!”
Simple property deals and the unregistered mortgage
Besides, Vegemite and Crocodile Dundee, Australia created a simple property registration system which is used by many countries around the world.
This innovation combined with standard term property contracts has created a low toll, fast speed highway through the property conveyancing process. Off highway driving is not so cheap or fast.
Take mortgages, it would be logical to believe that if it is not registered then it has no effect. However, an unregistered mortgage is still a mortgage. It takes priority over unsecured debts but it is trumped by registration of property rights. It can be imposed as easily as physically depositing the title certificate with the lender or a condition providing “I hereby charge all my real property”.
Some businesses include a mortgage condition in the small print of their terms and conditions. If an argument arises a caveat can be lodged on the title of the debtor’s property.
If someone owes a lot of money there can be several creditors desperately lodging caveats to support unregistered mortgages. It would be logical to think that unregistered mortgages have priority over each other in the order that the caveat is registered. But, in fact the priority is by the date of the mortgage.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, if you are planning to do a business property deal, drive cautiously and expect to pay more than just a toll. A simple hand written agreement between the parties can have unexpected adverse consequences. But then again, it is only money.
Coming soon the world’s first Legal Cartoon App for your iPhone or iPad.
It grants you a licence to:
Use the cartoons for your own amusement as “Wallpaper” on your iPhone or iPad.
And/or send cartoons to your legal friends and colleagues by:
These edgy and off beat legal cartoons are guaranteed to amuse or at least mildly offend your legal friends and colleagues. Coming soon from your iTunes store for only $1.19.
Everybody wants to think of a great idea that will make them rich. A good indication that you have a great idea is that someone copies it but, by then it can be too late.
To be Released in August 2010
11.5 sm of commercial office space (large room) in Brennans offices.
The content of the Law & Disorder eZine is to give you legal basics and in some instances included unashamedly to try and make you laugh. In law it is sometimes difficult to work out what is serious and what is just for fun. Therefore, if you plan to do anything legal, rely on your own lawyer’s advice or instruct me to look at the particular facts of your case. Not only will I deny responsibility for the legal content but also for some of the jokes.