Over the last year or so, I have repeatedly said in a number of contexts that with the rapid changes occurring in the modern practice of law, the lawyers who will survive and thrive will be those who can demonstrate that the value that they bring is that of the “trusted advisor.” The lawyers who consistently demonstrate the ability to exercise very sound judgment and wisdom, provide practical answers, and leave their clients feeling like the person should be part of their “brain trust.” I don’t claim to be unique in that viewpoint by any means, but I do hope that is what I am able to accomplish during the next decade of my practice or I fear I will have to go do something else to scratch out a living, and I have said so at least one before at this blog.
All of this is prologue to justify a brief mention of a Mississippi lawyer who managed to just demonstrate that, if my speculative musings are correct, he will not be a practicing lawyer all that much longer. I noticed this case on the ABA Journal online today, and now that I also went and read the complaint — I think it will be hard for folks to think he’s likely to fit the bill of the wise counselor possessing sound judgment.
The gentleman filed a lawsuit, representing himself, against a popular provider of Louisiana-style cajun chicken. If you were a client, in the market for a probate and tax attorney which this person apparently is at the moment, here are the four paragraphs of the lawsuit that would probably be all you would need to read to know that you might want to think twice:
11. In the drive-through line, plaintiff Newton ordered, received and paid for two chicken breasts, and [sic] order of red beans and rice, a biscuit, and a soft drink. Newton’s order was delivered to him in a bag which included the napkins, salt and pepper, and the utensil deemed necessary for consumption of his order.
12. Plaintiff Newton drove directly to his business office [snip] and began to consume his meal. The sole utensil accompanying the order was a plastic “spork,” which is a combination fork and spoon, which Newton used to consume the red beans and rice.
13. Because Newton’s order did not include a plastic knife, plaintiff Newton’s only option for consumption of the chicken breasts was to hold a chicken breast in his hands and to tear off pieces thereof with his teeth.
14. During his consumption of his meal, plaintiff Newton became [sic] choked on a portion of chicken which lodged in his throat and other neck areas, and was unable to swallow the bite, or to spit or cough the bite out.
Whether or not you happen to “love that chicken from Popeyes,” my guess is, if you are a lawyer, you’d love to have the defense of Popeyes on this one. And, again, if you aren’t a lawyer and you read the complaint ever, my guess is that you are also going to want a probate or tax lawyer who might be able to have recognized at least one other option in that situation.