Most Michael Cohen/ Donald Trump stories call Cohen Trump’s former fixer. That worries me.
If there’s anything solo and small firm lawyers don’t need, it’s more people calling wanting a lawyer to fix their problem.
Most people aren’t Donald Trump. Regular people with regular problems have to fix their own problems. A lawyer can’t fix their problem.
Here’s an example. Someone is building a house. Their tile guy botched the tile.
They call me, wanting me to fix their problem. I tell them I can’t–I’m not a tile guy. They don’t need a lawyer. They need someone to fix their tile.
Their response is some variation of they want a lawyer to make their tile guy fix the problem. Here’s how it goes:
Me: If your tile guy screwed it up, he either can’t or won’t fix it. You need a new tile guy–not a lawyer.
Them: I’ll have to pay a new tile guy.
Them: That’s not fair.
Me: I agree.
Them: I want you to fix it.
Me: I don’t do tile.
Them: What should I do?
Me: Get someone else to fix the tile.
Them: Can I make the tile guy pay for it?
Me: Have you already paid him?
Me: No, you’re screwed.
Them: I want you to write him a letter.
Me: It will be a waste of time.
Them: So what do I do?
Me: Fix the tile and move on.
Them: Why won’t you help me?
Me: Again, I can’t fix tile.
Them: Stop saying that!
A more common variation is someone calls wanting a legal malpractice lawyer because their lawyer is not working on their case. For example, a divorce case. The case is still ongoing.
Me: sorry, I don’t do divorces.
Them: Yea, but it’s malpractice.
Me: No, it’s not. You haven’t lost your case.
[repeat variation of the tile story].
They don’t need a legal malpractice lawyer. They need a new divorce lawyer. But they don’t want to pay a new lawyer. So they hope a ‘legal malpractice’ lawyer will, somehow, fix their case for free.
That’s not how it works for Donald Trump or anyone else. A problem is a problem and it is going to cost something to fix.
And a lawyer writing a nasty letter is probably not going to fix their problem. I say that because I am a lawyer, and it’s never worked for me and my problems.
I understand why some ill-informed people think they can recover a lot of money in a lawsuit when they can’t. I don’t understand why many people think lawyers can make problems disappear with their pen. That’s a magician’s job–not a lawyer’s.