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You’re As Cold as Ice

My first job out of law school was at a firm that focused on divorces. I couldn’t handle the bluntness of the boss, who’d horse-trade visitation with the kids for increased support (I also detested the entire field, but that’s a story for another day).

I recalled my dislike for such a negotiating style when the daughter of a former client called me about her mother’s need for governmental assistance. She was reeling from the eldercare attorney’s no-nonsense approach to her incapacitated parent’s predicament. “Pay the bills and don’t bother getting documents if you think she’ll die in the next few months anyway.”

I offered to help her gather the documents anyway, and she was grateful.  But our conversation reminded me of a day that my boss eavesdropped as I negotiated a real estate deal. When I was done, she came in and brusquely said, “It sounded to me like he was dangling his balls out there and you didn’t cut them off.”

I  really don’t know how I replied, but I did manage to say, “How do we get to an amicable closing if I do that before contract?” She said something like “MmmFfffMmmPhht” and left, and I was certain that I’d never pursue a career in domestic relations. Now I also know why I didn’t go into eldercare law.

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