Sunday, June 03, 2007

The One With All of The Lawyers

We now officially have three different attorneys on retainer; each has a distinct purpose and specialty.

If I think about it too much, my head might explode.

We have gone from zero to three lawyers in less than 60 days. My job is to make sure that they are all doing what we are paying them (exorbitant amounts of money per hour) to do... And also to make sure that their retainers don't run out before we get done with the Stepdad.

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First, there is Attorney A - an advisor attorney that I have retained; he is simply there as a neutral third party/second opinion/advisor. Ordinarily I would not have placed him on retainer, but would have simply paid him for consult on an as-needed basis. With everything that is going on, however, I felt better knowing that I would have him "on call" 24/7.

A is an experienced trial lawyer, former prosecutor, and former legislator. He is also a long-time family acquaintance, and I wanted - and needed someone who I could trust to guide me through everything that is going on.

A is tall, dark and handsome, and dashes about in custom-tailored suits that probably cost more than The Wrench makes in a month. He is charming, affable, and has a razor-sharp wit. I love A the best because he blatantly and cheerfully flatters me to no end, and he always has my favorite chocolates in a little crystal dish on his desk.

I'm glad that A is on *our* team... For all his charm, wit, and chocolate, I would NOT wish to come up against him in a court of law.

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Attorney F is our brand-new Family Lawyer. She has been mostly taking care of things like The Will, and setting up durable power of attorney thingys, and revoking some other shady paperwork that The Stepdad had convinced Mom to sign - some of it under false pretenses.

We found F through a referral from A.

F is sweet and wise, and very low-key. She dresses like she couldn't decide if she was going to be a hippy or a preppy when she grew up; a bit eclectic, with layers and accessories and instead of a briefcase, she carries a big, canvas tote bag.

F is also sharp as a tack, and has managed to undo most of the damage done with the bogus paperwork. She has also created a Trust, and put all of Mom's assets into that to keep them safe. F has helped me figure out which banks and financial institutions needed to be sent a copy of the legal revocations that stop The Stepdads shady little paperwork.

F might appear to the casual observer to be a meek, mousy little eccentric, but she's sharp as a tack, and has managed rather quickly to out-maneuver The Stepdad's attorney.

We like F.

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Attorney D is our Divorce Lawyer.

We needed one of these because The Stepdad has filed for divorce. He thought it would be uncontested. He thought he was going to slither out of the marriage quietly. Boy, was he ever wrong.

We had to find an attorney Two Hours East - because it is in another state. And once we talked to A, we realized fairly quickly that it will benefit Mom in the long run to keep the case over there Two Hours East.

This meant, of course, that we had to GO to Two Hours East to find and hire an attorney there. Think about that one for a moment - how do you hire an attorney in essentially a strange city?

With a bit of research, I made a list of four potential attorneys, and I called each one for a brief phone consult before driving all the way Two Hours East for a meeting. I knew we were in trouble when we started talking to them, and they all told us that the case was "too complicated" or "outside the scope of their practice" or (my personal favorite) "not the type of case that we would typically pursue". Because The Stepdad had been engaging in some serious monkeyshines with Mom's money, and it has taken me every bit of the last 60 days to sort this out, and make sense of it. As I finally pulled the pieces of the puzzle together, I was alarmed at what The Stepdad had been doing. In a nutshell, he had been systematically, methodically screwing Mom out of her money. Draining her accounts, carefully and slowly. If we had not brought Mom (and her checkbooks) home when we did, I have little doubt that by the end of the year, she would have had very little money left.

Yes, they had a pre-nup. Yes, he broke the pre-nup; not once but multiple times. I have the notarized paperwork to prove it. (he might be clever, but he wasn't smart enough to clean up his paper trail.)

So, now I know - we need someone special for this case. An attorney who could not only quickly and fully grasp the salient points, but who could see the entire scope of this case at once, and was comfortable throwing around words like "embezzlement" and "misappropriation of funds". I dialed up Attorney A, and after briefly telling him about the results of the telephone interviews, he promised to call back within 15 minutes. When A called back, he had the name and number of a "lovely young woman" who he was certain would be just fine. He would phone ahead and "introduce" us to this attorney; he felt sure she could handle the case.

I waited until the next morning, as instructed by A, and phoned D at the prescribed time. After a short conversation, we made an appointment to visit her at her offices Two Hours East, and gathered copies of the documents she said she would need.

I'll be the first one to tell you - I felt like it was going to be a waste of time to make that round trip to Two Hours East just to see this little girl. But I trusted A, and so away Mom and I went.

D is a surprise, to be sure. Sounds like she's all of twelve years old on the phone, looks like a 5-foot tall version of Barbie in person, and scary as all Hell when you start talking to her, and realize what she's going to be like in court.

I knew she was the one for us when she laughed and said "This is going to be *fun*..."

I'm really glad *we* hired her, and not The Stepdad. I would hate to face her in any negotiations or courtroom. :::shiver:::

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So, there they are; My Legal Team. D, F, & A. Expensive, talented, charming and wicked-smart. Did I mention expensive?

Don't mess with me. I'll call my attorneys...

5 comments:

Kelly said...

I am SUCH a law buff...you MUST give us a play-by-play on this one! (I'm still trying not to beg over the other one ;)

So, the Stepdad didn't figure YOU into his equations, eh? Go get 'im tiger! I still can't get over how right you were about him, without knowing specifics.

How is Twinks handling all this? It must be hard on her...

Oh, and I so know what you mean about having a lawyer. With Michaela's wheelchair debacle, it was really nice to throw around that phrase "my lawyer" when people got snippy with me!

Suldog said...

Lawyers.

It's funny. Every lawyer I've ever know personally has been a decent person (some much more than that) but I still find the concept of having to hire a specialist to take care of your legal matters a horrible indictment of our society as a whole. If most laws were not written up by lawyers, would we need so many of them?

Good luck. It sounds like you have the right people on your side.

Chuck said...

While my only legal dealings in my life so far weren't cheap, I do think the money spent was well worth it. Glad you've found yourself a good team there, and have a great summer!

Fab Grandma said...

I don't envy your trip ahead with all the legalities of this. I am so glad that you have the right people on your side, and really really glad your mother has you to help her.

I can remember what it was like about 12 years ago when my husband and I had 4 lawyers working for us, all doing something different. At the time it seemed like a nightmare that would never end, now we laugh about it sometimes.

Ericka said...

well, at least you've got people to help you, abet expensive people.

it's good to have people.