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Strangers in the Deal

I asked the other attorney on a deal whether he could clue me in when his clients would like to close, as mine needs to make extensive travel arrangements.

He sighed and said, “I don’t know and I don’t care. You want a bit of advice?” He didn’t wait for my reply, which would have been an unenthusiastic, “Ummm, sure?” He just kept talking.

“We had another deal together, remember? And in that one, like this one, you seem obsessed with doing what your client wants you to do. You’d be better off telling the people who hire you to do a job, ‘Let me take care of it; I’ll let you know where and when to show up, and how much money to bring.’ It saves a lot of wear and tear on you and won’t annoy the other attorney so much. Just remind yourself that clients are not friends.”

Wow, how helpful! From now on, I’ll take my client’s money, never seek any input, and make all decisions unilaterally (or in conjunction with the other attorney, I guess). Who needs to satisfy clients if expressing their wishes and perspectives will exasperate my fellow attorneys and be seen as a sign of a needy need for buddies?

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