Candid Confession?

–From Vera Beretvas, Albany Law School, Date of event: Oct. 2002

In our Legal Profession class, Professor Connors was discussing situations in which a lawyer may withdraw from representation of a client.

He turned to me as it often happens when one sits in the first row, and said: “Could you, Vera, specify such a situation for us?”

He caught me in a moment when my thoughts were around an egg-salad versus a tuna sandwich for lunch. And I definitely wanted cucumbers on the side …

Out of at least five plausible answers, all I could think to say was: “Well, when a client doesn’t want to cooperate, and showers the lawyer with annoying phone calls …”

“Yes!” he said enthusiastically. “If, for example, I am a pain in the ass …,” and he paused, expecting me to carry the ball from there.

In my confused state, I just repeated after him: “Yes, you are a pain in the ass …” Unfortunately, my intonation accidentally dropped there, ending the sentence prematurely. It was too late for me to add something else to save the situation.

When the burst of laughter died down in the room, he looked at me with surprise in his eyes, and answered in a meditative, yet fully resigned manner: “Well, I guess, we can say I am …”

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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