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Lost Patience

I lost patience with a client today.

Some might call him a former client, actually. He came to me with a real legal mess, and I steered him through it. Not a magic-wand result, but a favorable agreed resolution that included a misdemeanor probation in felony court. For a lot of lawyers, that would be the end, but I believe in providing continued maintenance to pleased clients.

Today he made an appointment to come in to the office to talk. He wanted me to fix some things that I didn’t think could be fixed. In fact, I thought that his focus was wrong.

After waiting 40 minutes for him to turn up and then trying to get him to come to the point for half an hour and then finding half an hour later that the first point wasn’t really the point and then finding out another half hour later that the second point wasn’t really the point either, all the while trying to get a straight answer from him, I stood up, unceremoniously announcing that our meeting was over. I told him that I would try to resolve the second point, but that with regard to the first and third points I thought he was out of luck. I told him that he needed to just face the fact that he had screwed up and focus on getting through his probation, rather than the things that it was interfering with.

Anyway, losing patience isn’t something I do every day. Or every week. Or every month, even. Mark-losing-his-patience isn’t even an annual event. I felt terrible about it, especially since I made him cry. So after losing patience with my client, of course, I lost patience with myself. And then yelled at the kids. Naturally. Because what better remedy for losing your shit with one person who’s depending on you for help, than losing it with two others?

The dogs, at least, have so far had the good sense to stay out of my way.


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