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by Brian Hampton
on How to Deal with Plumbers, COVID and Lawyers.


    “Fear an ignorant man more than a lion.”
Turkish Proverb

     “Plumbing is the worst!”

“Plumbing is the bane of my existence.”

These are two quotes from friends of mine; sound familiar?

     It’s not really that plumbers are malicious or unethical, it’s just that often they don’t know what to do.  But of course, they do something anyway and often do the wrong thing.

  •  You have a leaking pipe; they knock out the wrong drywall?
  • They snake a drain, break a pipe and cause a leak?
  • They say you need a new garbage disposal; a reset will do?
  • They come to fix a slow toilet flush; leave, then, no flush?

 A plumber messes up; you get another plumber over to fix the fix and they mess up too; back to square one!

What misadventures with plumbers have you had?  I will share some of mine and then get right to how to get the Best for the Least from plumbers.  Then, if worse comes to worse, I will share some remedies that I have used for redress from plumbing damages.



    Have you been fooled by a plumber? I most certainly have; maybe I can help spare you from some of the leaky business.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.  I remember a plumbing episode where I was getting ready to be fooled Three Times.


Splish Splash,
Don’t Take a Financial Bath 2


There is a leak on the kitchen ceiling, over the upstairs bathroom.   Plumber comes out to diagnose the problem.  Have to knock out the ceiling drywall and see what the problem is he says. (Less than one in 20 plumbers are women; perhaps the root of the problem, you think?)


   Yep, leaky pipes right there.  Looks like the toilet is leaking; he fixes it he says.  Problem goes away but comes back in a couple months.  Another plumber says the last guy messed up.  Really!  Let me take a look; he has to knock out the ceiling drywall that had been replaced a couple months before.


It’s the shower he says; He’ll fix the drain.  Problem goes away; drywall is fixed again.  A couple months later, it starts to leak again on the ceiling of the kitchen.  Plumber number three shows and starts calling me “ Boss.”


      That was my first inkling that things might not go well.  Do you like to be called boss? He says it is not the drain; it’s the shower tiles. And if it continues to leak, the ceiling in the kitchen will be damaged.  “I didn’t know that I said.”  He didn’t like me; he kind of stormed out without a goodbye.  I didn’t like him. Goodbye and good luck.


               TURNING  SHOWER HEAD AND SAVED $2,000


Like $2,000 for all new shower tiles?  Wait a minute said the slow-witted House Manager, that would be me.  The shower head is pointed against the shower wall and there is a leak.  How about I point it straight down rather than against the wall?  Bingo!  Ten minutes; no leaks.  Some people have to be told.  So, I sent Joe, the Plumbing Manager no less, I sent a nice text that very day.

Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath 3


“Thanks for the diagnosis!  I adjusted the shower head straight ahead rather than against the wall.  10 minutes. No leak! Or need to redo the entire shower.  YOU are the Boss.  Many Thanks!”  I got no response, but I did get satisfaction.


 So, we need to live by our wits when it comes to plumbers.  It behooves us all to get the right plumber from the start.


You like the plumber you have until you don’t, but how to find a new one? First, shop online and pick out your top three choices and call them on the phone; YES the phone!  No live person or call center, forget about it.  Corporate culture starts at the top, if they are obtuse or cannot answer simple questions, move on.


Ask how much for a visit alone or by the hour and then how much for an estimate of the work to be done to actually diagnose the problem of what has to be done.




Carl the plumber used to charge $100 just to breathe in our house.  He would fix a leaky faucet, be there five minutes and charge $155.  What???  You were only here for five minutes!!!!!!!!  Carl, being a clever guy would say, “You are not paying for my time, but my expertise and knowing what washer thing to turn here.”

Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath 4


Plumbing Fiasco:  Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head   


Take photos before, during and after the plumbing process.  Taking photos takes very little time and you can document what it was before they got started. For example, maybe you have limited damage to start, like a leak on your ceiling; get a photo.


Maybe they rip parts of your walls apart and don’t put back a towel rack, or grabber, a toothbrush stand or even a toilet paper spool.  You have to show that it was there in the first place,


They WILL take photos to show all the mold, damaged pipes and whatever else to show all the work that had to be done. They say the photos prove their case, whatever it is.  Why?  Because they are photos, and they mean whatever they say they mean!  You need your own photos for the record; maybe they did more than needed to be done.  Make your own record, from the beginning and every day.


The plumber comes to fix a clogged sink in the bathroom on the second floor.  He is supposed to arrive between 3:30 and 5:30; he gets there at ten minutes to six, no surprise.  He is there for about 20 minutes snaking out the sink and my wife and I, who are in the family room, hear raindrops.  There is no rain outside: it was coming from the kitchen ceiling; water cascading from leaks in the ceiling, dripping from ceiling light fixtures, all over the floor!!!###**

Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath 5


Bungling Plumbers Make a Bad Situation Worse


      “Stop whatever you are doing!”  Thereupon ensues a spirited discussion about why this was happening.  He said it was probably the toilet; there was no water on the bathroom floor, and we had no leaks from the toilet before on the ceiling.  He snaked a hole in the pipes, which can happen in older houses with older pipes, but mostly caused by bungling plumbers.  Real pros will do it right.


Then he wanted to knock out the drywall in the center of the ceiling to find the leaking pipes!  No way I pointed out; most all pipes are vertical and would be in the side wall, spraying water from the leaks.


Thereupon transpired a full week of lies and obfuscation  from various representatives of the plumbing company; telling me what they would do before disappearing and becoming unreachable.


You Have to Be Assertive or Be the Victim


     I had had enough and here is what I did that finally produced results; you can use one of these techniques yourself. Some well- placed assertiveness can save you a world of grief.   First of all, I checked on-line to find the name of the management top executives.  Then I reviewed the complaints that customers took to the Better Business Bureau.  There were 49 of them in about a five- month period.  Their COO had a kind of full-time job responding.



Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath 6


The BBB once really helped me with a credit card company that was really ripping me off, but in the case of plumbers, I knew that the state licensing authority was a far more powerful linchpin for bringing heat so they would see the light.


     Junkyard Dog Lawyer to Run TV Spots on Your Company!


    But I decided on a kind of pincer operation.  I finally got a customer service manager on the line and told her:  “Judy, gosh I told one of my friends about my situation with your company, with the 49 complaints to the BBB and all and they said the whole deal is ripe for a class action suit.  You know the kind where a junkyard dog lawyer runs these  TV ads rounding up aggrieved customers and then files a huge lawsuit.”  Then I wished her a good day.  You are the nail or the hammer.


          Then I found that the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) was the licensing board that also received complaints. I called their hot line and they emailed me a complaint form.  Unsurprisingly, I found out that the upper management of the company were very secretive about how to contact them; no one would give out extensions or email addresses.


         Bertha, Tell Tony His License Could be Revoked


But I finally finagled the name and extension of the Executive Assistant to the CEO.   I called the Assistant, got the voicemail and left a message.  I gave my name and number and said that she will want to get the message to Tony right away.


Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath   7


I said that as you know, the DPOR can take your license to do business away and that my last stop before filing a complaint was making this call.  Then in the voicemail I left a  short description of what had happened, and the names of the culprits.


    Another arrow for your quiver is to “make a record” as they say in the legal trade, by sending emails.  From my long experience in looking for the email addresses of “high ranking people” I have found that such folks don’t want regular people to know.


But here is a trick to figure out some of these obscure email addresses.  Google  email format (We Give Grief Corporation).  In many cases, you will see something like this:


             First initial last   JDoe        58%
             First last  joedoe                                                         28%
             Last first initial  doej                                                  18%



        It’s a Warning and a Promise Don’t Get Mad, Get Even!


You combine this information with the names of the top executives, and you have a formula for getting your story out just the way you want.  You can employ the very inexpensive email tool called  You send three emails out to the executive and see which one, if any, opens your email.  Recipients Do Not Know you are using this software.


Splish Splash, Don’t Take a Financial Bath 8


     Never get mad, get even.  Positive things started to happen within hours after I left the message.  But remember only the prospect of filing a complaint is really going to provide leverage; once it’s filed you don’t have much leverage anymore.  And if someone asks you the age- old question:  “Are you threatening me?”  Your response is, “You can take it any way you want.”  Or, another response is, “No, it’s a warning and a promise.”


     Another option for redress of vendor damages at your residence could be your homeowners’ insurance, depending on your coverage and level of confidence in the carrier.


     With ongoing problems and damage caused by a plumber, you can get your homeowners insurance company to take over.  They can even collect from the insurance company of the plumbing company, through what is called subrogation.


With plumbers, when you have to, be the hammer not the nail, be ready to play hardball!



          Brian Hampton

              MA in Communications Michigan State University

              Advanced Degree U. S. Army Command & General Staff College     





Independent Advertising to Encourage Vaccines Dives;

Pres. Biden and Federal Agencies Urged to Take Action

It’s time to bring back Harry and Louise!  They would be the married couple in the iconic commercials that shaped the dialogue about health care for a decade and a half.

    There are now more COVID cases than any time since February, about 100,000 new cases a day. (If the federal government followed my simple suggestions, these virus cases would be cut to about 20% of what they are now in two months).  At the same time, the amount of paid advertising to convince Americans to get vaccinated is 1/5th of what it was in May.

     People can say the federal  government is doing a lot to encourage people to get vaccinated, but it is clearly not working well at all.  Current efforts are not effective or enough.


     Meanwhile, “they” are putting lives in grave peril.  The 30% of those ignorant people in the U. S. who are eligible for the vaccine and have not gotten it, are putting the fully vaccinated at risk.  This category is a staggering 90,000,000 people.


     Ignorant of course does not mean stupid, it means uninformed.    How is it that these people “did not get the memo” how efficacious the vaccines are?

     They are Persuadable Because They Just Don’t Know

     A common belief is that the remaining unvaccinated people can not be persuaded.  Believing such nonsense and failing to take effective action could bring 100s of thousands of more unneeded deaths. People can be persuaded if they are approached in the right way with the right information.

     A truly creative and comprehensive communications campaign can stamp out much of the ignorance.  For example, a vast number of the unvaccinated are hesitating because they can not afford the vaccine.  They do not know they are all free.


    Many people think the vaccines have been rushed into production.  Of course, they have, but they are all vetted and approved. Many fear the side effects; there are almost none.  Many don’t trust the government or other institutions.  That is very understandable, but not a defensible reason for not getting the vaccine.


     Many people are taking a wait and see approach.  Wait for what? Some feel their fertility will be compromised.  Wrong again.  Many feel they are young and healthy and have nothing to fear.  Think again.

     Many people believe their faith will protect them.  Faith is an incredible attribute for a good life, but not to prevent catching a virus. In a far different category are those who believe that the government is using vaccines to microchip the population. Really.

     Governments, officials and media types at all levels have been urging people for months and months to get vaccinated.  We don’t need the talking heads on TV to tell us yet again what we already know; with the variants and the need for booster shots, we need far more people to be persuaded to get  vaccinated.  But how?  Bring back Harry and Louise!

     About the most impactful series of commercials of all time portrayed a fictional middle-class married couple who discussed various healthcare issues at their kitchen table.

                     Meet Up Again:  Harry & Louise

     Harry and Louise first hit the airways in September of 1993 and were so persuasive, they were reprised for various healthcare issues for 15 years, including a parody at the Academy Award in 2006.


     In 2009 the couple appeared in yet another commercial supporting the health-care initiative of President Obama.  The ad was sponsored by Families USA and a pharmaceutical trade group.

     Of course, Amendment X of our constitution says that the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved for the states.

But the “Vesting Clause” Article II Section 1 of the Constitution says that “The executive power shall be vested in the President of the United States.”

     Within the Executive Branch, the President has broad powers to manage national affairs and the priorities of government.  Few disagree with the concept of a “Unitary Executive” who has vast powers to direct executive officers, to issue Executive Orders to create rules, regulations and instructions.

     The President has the right in law and conscience to take bold and organization actions during this seemingly endless rolling national health energy.

            Take Bold Action; Save Many Thousands of Lives

    Others have stepped up with paid advertising, notably the Ad Council with “It’s Up to You,” Budweiser (free beer), the NFL, Walmart, among many, and even Mitch McConnell has bought radio ads in Kentucky urging people to get vaccinated.

     But those efforts have been almost imperceptible.  Do you suppose anyone at the White House has called up any large advocacy organization or political action committee to make the case to roll out a real heavy-duty campaign? 


    Do you think they have brought their full power and influence to bear?  They should be making the call with the message: “Consider helping save an untold number of lives by producing and paying for some kitchen table commercials that explain in everyday terms why everyone should get vaccinated”


    If the White House had really weighed in, we would have seen a raft of persuasive commercials to convert those who don’t know what they don’t know.

    Still 30% are unvaccinated and in some states, it is as high as 60%.

The federal government can and should be doing plenty.  When I was at the Federal Trade Commission, I directed an earned media consumer education campaign.

           They Work for Us; Get to Work, Save Lives!

     We have 15 Cabinet Executive Departments that employ 4 million people.  A few of these departments have issued various mandates for vaccines and testing of federal workers, which helps, but not remotely enough. To use a “Washington speak” term,  all these Departments employ “robust” communication departments.


    The President does not have to even issue an Executive Order or even convene a full Cabinet meeting, he barely has them anyway.

He merely communicates with every Cabinet Secretary.

     1.) He tells them all he wants them to roll out an all -encompassing earned media campaign making the many educational arguments why people should get the vaccines.

    Each of these communication departments should have 100s of these direct email journalist contacts. These releases can be in a myriad of categories: news updates about those new cases of COVID and what percent are vaccinated and how many are not.  They can be feature stories about human interest stories.  They can relate all the reasons people should be vaccinated.


      Can and should Cabinet Departments be conducting such campaigns?  Of course.   But where these “free media” campaigns exist, they are about the departments’ efforts to “contain and mitigate” COVID within their departments


  Have You Seen This Commercial?  Anyone?

     Health and Human Services sponsors a “vaccine education live services.”  Have you seen it?  Anyone? Anyone?  Anyone?


    The Department of Education for example can help to frame and repeat the issues to educators nationwide and through their multiplier channels.   The Department of Labor can especially help various categories of workers.

      The Department of Commerce is ideal to reach people employed by businesses.  HUD? Yes.  Transportation? Yes. Interior? Yes. Energy? Yes. Agriculture? Yes. Treasury? Yes.  Veterans Affairs?  There are 20 million veterans in the U. S, all reachable by the VA.

     Should any Department be exempted?  DHS? DOD? State? Maybe, but probably not.


     2.) Then another earned media angle, is the long neglected Public Service Announcements that are especially suited for radio and TV stations.  After all, the Federal Communications Commission strongly encourages that such stations report such public service come renewal time.

    3.)  Finally, the actual paid commercials.  But paid advertising has nearly disappeared by earlier standards; it was five times more prevalent in May than it is now.

            Too Much of a Good Thing is Wonderful!

      It is overtime for the federal government to join the parade with paid commercials.  Unseemly?  Can’t do that?  The Texas Department of State and Health Services has run low budget ads.  Florida has joined in as well, among other states.


     The nay-sayers will say but we are already doing a lot.  Of course, we are, but not enough when Over 1,000 people a day are dying of COVID. Still about 30% of eligible Americans are not vaccinated.  Educating and persuading even 10% of the population to get vaccinated is doable and could make a huge difference.

     The nay-sayers will say but we are already doing a lot.  Of course, we are, but not enough.  As Mae West, the  Silver Star Siren  of yesterday said, “Too much of a good thing, could be wonderful!”


Breaking News Feature:
How to Deal with Lawyers

80% of Lawyers Are Sued for Malpractice

 Why is That ?  And What to Do about it.


By Brian Hampton


What is the difference between a lawyer and a skunk laying in the center of the road? 

There are skid marks in front of the skunk. 

    And so on.  Why are there so many lawyer jokes? 

Answer:  Because there are so many lawyers.


Have you had any problems with lawyers in your life?  If you have not, you have lived a charmed life.  According to the American Bar Association, 80% of lawyers have been sued for malpractice.  Be prepared to take effective action when needed.


Take the Initiative!


And what we are talking about is both having your lawyer attack the other side and pushing your own lawyer, find out how they are pushing back for you and learning to play hardball to protect yourself.  We will talk about the lawyers who may at some time oppose you, but let’s start with your own lawyer.


There are many similar law firms out there.  Dewey Cheatem & How is one of the most prevalent of the lot.


You may have had this experience already: you hire a lawyer to help you and you become more upset with them than the other people you hired the lawyer to help you with.  Let me share some hard- earned techniques.  I will start with the easy and then work out.


Scare the Wits  Out of You

Most lawyers can’t seem to help themselves: they put their lawyer hat on and try to scare the wits out of you, tell you all the awful things that can happen to you.  Sound familiar?  The worst-case scenario for them is the best-case scenario for them; higher fees.


Much of this may seem counterintuitive and it is.  There are plenty of things your lawyer will often fail to tell you, such as the law that is relevant to your case.   How could that be?  It happens with regularity because the lawyers want to keep you, the client (seemingly the boss) in the dark on many matters, to maintain their control over you.

You want to test out this reality?  Study up a bunch on the state statutes  and case law in your state on matters relevant to your case.  Then, when your lawyer puts on that lawyer hat again and wants to scare the wits out of you, to keep you in line and keep the fees coming in…what happens?

They will argue with you that you don’t know what you are talking about.  You know why that is?  It is because They Are the Lawyers and suffered through the drudgery of law school and you don’t know anything.

So, save your breath, in most cases you are better off Not letting them know what you know.  Their regular refrain will be that they have your best interests at heart.  Listen with a skeptical mind and what is to be done is ultimately for You to decide.  You have to live with it, not them.


Never Tell Your Lawyer This


Ok, so you have hired a lawyer or their firm to represent you in what becomes negotiations.  You will often find that your biggest job and headache is to push back on your own lawyers, so they will push back against the bad guys whoever they are. Want to know what one of the worst things you can do with your own lawyer when you are in protracted negotiations?

Giving them your fallback position; because 9 of 10 times they will fall all the way back to that from the beginning.  We are talking litigators, “professional” negotiators.  Because it’s easier to fight you than it is to fight the opponents.

So, let’s say you are caught up in a lawsuit of some kind.  Do not sit back and wait for the bills and assume your lawyer is doing a good job.  This is one of those things that seems so obvious, that one is really tempted to forget about it; that is to grill your lawyer on how they have pushed back.


 Like Propping Up a Jellyfish


Unfortunately, I have had to confront lawyers on occasion by asking them exactly How they have pushed back.  Seems a simple, direct and worthy question, right?  I did it once to a firm that was racking up huge bills on the company I worked for and the lawyers for the firm were positively infuriated. Yes, why would I be asking such a thing?  

Why indeed.

Another lawyer I confronted with the same simple question and he responded, he did not make the case for me because he “did not want to argue.”   You heard it, a lawyer who didn’t want to argue!  Not excusable, but part of the problem was that he was negotiating with another lawyer; professional courtesy you know.  Beware, you may have a lawyer that you have to prop up like a jellyfish.




There are lawyers and then there are insurance lawyers.  You could find yourself squared off against insurance lawyers in one or two general categories: 1.)  When you know they are against you or 2.) When they are supposed to be for you.

The first category is when an insurance company appoints a lawyer to protect their client from liabilities from you.  You may have filed against an individual who rear-ended you.  Their insurance company appoints a lawyer to defend against your claim.  You could file a medical malpractice case or something much more mundane.

The other broad category where you have far more leverage is when the insurance appoints a lawyer, and you are theoretically the client.  Maybe you are affiliated with a company that has director’s insurance where if there is a legal complaint, the insurance company will retain a lawyer for you. In these cases, you are the client, not the insurance company.

But guess what?  These lawyers may work for you ostensibly, but they really work for the insurance companies.  Why?  Because the lawyers usually have sweetheart deals with the insurance companies.  The lawyers have gotten business from the insurance companies before you and will again after you.

So, you think the lawyer might come up with a settlement where the insurance companies have to pay some appreciable amount of money?  You know the answer to that.  No way, the lawyers will squeeze you and not their gravy train.

How to Get Your Insurance Company to Pay a Claim

A subset of this category is when your own insurance company uses their in-house lawyers to fight you off; maybe you disputed the non-payment of a big medical claim or your homeowners’ insurance refuses to pay.  For most of these cases in the second category, meaning when you paid for the insurance, the best leverage for you is to take on the insurance company.

What is the simplest, fastest, cheapest and most effective recourse?  Regulator? Lawyer? Court? Letter?  Yes a letter, but a very ingenious letter. 

You find out the full name of the state Commissioner of Insurance.  You find out the full street address of  your state Insurance Commission, and you use the street address, not any post office box.

Then you draft up a one-page letter to the Commissioner.  You put in a reference line  such as Re:  Investigation of ABC Insurance Company.  In the letter you state your policy number and about how long you have had the policy. Then in noninflammatory words you describe the misdeeds of the insurance company, just the facts.

Then you ask for an investigation of the insurance company because you believe it may be committing a pattern of abuse throughout the state.  You close at the bottom of the letter with a stated copy of the letter to the CEO of the insurance company by name, then the name of your agent’s superior and title which can easily be found online, then the final person to get a copy is your agent by name themselves. 

Then you do Not send the letter to the Commissioner, but you scan it and email it to your agent!  In the email you say this is a draft you are prepared to send if they don’t get straight with you.  You don’t  send it to the Commissioner because there is no fallback position.  The promise and warning of sending it is all it takes.  

I have employed this exact strategy when the stakes were in the six -figure range and it worked like magic!

$40 to Leave a 10 Second Message


You have to love these guys.  You have heard of these little counters that lawyers have, right?  They usually bill in segments of 10 per hour, that is six minutes for every segment.  I have been shown a few of these lawyer bills, a wonderful sight.  

DATE                    DESCRIPTION              HOURS            AMOUNT

Feb-14-19         Composed retainer      2                      $800


Feb.  15                      Call clients; l/msg.          0.10                40

Feb 16                      Review voice mail from client   0.10     40


   So, there we have it……  $80 to leave a ten second voice mail and to review a return call voicemail.  Enough said!!!                        


    If you have an excellent lawyer; hang on to them with all you might; pay on time and count your blessings; if not………


Scare the Wits Out of Your Lawyer


TECHNIQUE NUMBER ONE Having a real serious problem with your lawyer?  You know what scares them most of all?  Filing a complaint with the Legal Board of Ethics of your state bar association.  No kidding, this is like you have waved a magic wand.


You can quickly look it up on- line.  Your state bar may have for example nine-member lawyers on this Ethics Board, you can typically find the names and the process to file a formal complaint.


The point is, you don’t want to file a complaint; what you really need to know is just the fundamentals of how it works and really, just that it is a very powerful option for you.

As a kind of last resort, where your lawyer is really messing up, your best option is to tell them verbally, that if your issues with them cannot be solved, you will swear out a complaint.  Even a complaint in many states is made public in some regards.  Having the exact name of the state board in hand, their address and the Chair, might come in handy to know and for credibility for real impact.

Want to be a little less nuclear?  You say, “You know, Dewey, I told a friend of mine about the situation with you and they told me that I should consider filing a complaint with the Board of Ethics of the (Florida) State Bar Association.


Start Out on Offense and Stay on Offense    


Maybe you are or will be involved in a lawsuit or a legal dispute, simple or contentious like a divorce proceeding.  When one is down in the weeds, it is very easy to forget the weeds for the forest, meaning the big strategy picture.  The key to many legal proceedings is to start on the offense and stay on the offense.

Keep the other side off balance by doing something to them before they do something else to you.  Get them into a reactive pose; you do not want to be the one reacting and always playing catch up.  Like the artillery during battle:  if those rounds are not going out from you to them, they do not have time to send them in to you.

More specifically, you want your lawyer sending out all those rounds: discovery demands, depositions, motions for this, that, whatever.  I will give just one arcane, but apt example.  You are part of a lawsuit.  Maybe you are the plaintiff, and you are asserting that the defendant owes you money.

Before you go to court, you can instruct your lawyer to file for a “provisional remedy” meaning the motion to the court may ask that certain monies of the defendant be frozen because there is a belief that in the event of a favorable verdict, the money will not long be there.

They Did What to Us?


Your motion hits the other party like a ton of bricks; what the hell is this?  There are many cases where the party on the receiving end never gets word of a motion accepted by the court, because proper service of the complaint was bungled; lawyers did not get it, did not know, did not respond in time and so on.


The point is that dealing with lawyers is a game and legal disputes are essentially a game; sure, the facts or law may matter, but usually it is who can play the game best.


Another technique you have to have is “making a record.” That is legal jargon for having your own record of exactly what transpired during your legal process at any key time.  So, you may need to do something simple like placing down your phone at a key dispute meeting or something more daring and record your conversation with your lawyer or moreover with your lawyer talking to other lawyers while you are on the phone.

About half of the states in the Union are “one party consent states,” meaning only one party, that would be you, has to be informed that the conversation is being recorded. This technique is invaluable because you do Not tell them you are recording them. With simple software, the audio can be converted to a transcript, that could be the best thing you ever did in the whole proceeding.


Magic Words to Your Lawyer                     


“Tell him you want to settle up.”  I was sitting in the steam room of the Providence Recreation Center outside Falls Church, Virginia one evening.  As it happened there were a bunch of guys sitting around, sweating it out.  There was a discussion of a couple guys talking about legal dilemmas.  One decent seeming guy said he was a lawyer and talked a bit about his profession.


I had nothing to lose.  I was beside myself.  I could not figure how to get out of the clutches of a lawyer who was running up my tab.  I had hired the guy to sue an organization for a wrongful action.  They counter-sued.  They had more money than me.  My lawyer was pulling me deeper and deeper into this.  The good lawyer in the steam room told me what to do.

I went back and told my lawyer that I wanted to settle up.  Bingo!  The light went on; he was going to be paid and we could both get out of it and move on.


Fire Your Lawyer: Quick and Easy


God forbid, if you want to fire your lawyer and actually hire another one, what do you do?  Well, in the first place, you never give documents to a lawyer for which you have not made copies.  It is malpractice, if they refuse to give them back to you at any time, but if you try to get those documents back, they may resist, maybe you have not fully paid your bill yet.  The lawyer is required to return all documents when you request them.

Whether you have gotten the documents back or not, after you have found a more suitable attorney, you merely sign a contract with her or him and the new lawyer sends a certified letter to the old attorney with a new Power of Attorney form that you have signed that designates the new lawyer as the one of record.  Bingo!  The bad lawyer is fired and based on legal “ethics” cannot comment on the case to anyone.


Make Your Lawyer Accountable to You    


Some of the best use of readnotify software is probably checking to make sure your lawyer is opening and reading your emails and when.  The recipients Cannot Tell you are using it on them.  The lawyers like to play cloak and diggers, hide and go seek.  You can get this software for peanuts and tract exactly when and/or if your lawyer is actually reading your emails and all the good details as well

The answer to lawyers?  Try very hard to stay out of trouble of course.  Some things are almost unavoidable during the ups and downs of life, all too often attracting those jerks in between.

If you do have to take on a lawyer, hear them out, let them rest their case, don’t be worried by anything they tell you, they will always suggest the worst scenario will and could take place. Most of all, keep your own counsel, you are the client, you are the boss.  Maybe you did not go to law school: but know that you can play the game with the best of them.


Sometimes it seems like there are so many jerks out there wanting to torment you, with lawyers standing at the head of line.  When the stakes are really high, don’t be shy about coming off a bit crazy to put those Big Jerks totally off balance.

One of the most legionary Championship Boxing Matches of all time was the heavyweight thriller between Mohammed Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) and Sonny Liston in 1964.  The line was 8 to 1 that the Champ Liston would win.   Sports Illustrated named it the fourth greatest sports event of the 20th Century.

The day before the fight during the weigh-in, Ali was acting crazy, yelling and hollering and carrying on.  Later, Ali’s famous trainer Angelo Dundee asked him:  “What in the world was that all about?”

Ali said, “Liston is afraid of no man, but he is afraid of a crazy man.”

Liston did not answer the bell in the seventh round.

The point is, if needed, your lawyer needs to be told and understand, if you get inflamed, they will rue the day.



Brian Hampton, MA, MAJ INF USAR (ret)

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© 2021 Brian Hampton. Life Coach.