Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Life of a Paralegal - Dealing with an Opposing Party who is In Pro Per

I think I should amend last Friday's five pet peeves to include when the opposing party on a case is in pro per......

For those of you not in the legal field, the term "in pro per" refers to a person who is self-represented (representing themselves rather than having an attorney).  More often than not, these people make my life hell.

Today is a fine example.

I had to give ex parte notice.  Again. for those of you not in the legal field, the term "ex parte" in this use refers to an emergency hearing which will occur usually the following day rather than having to wait 30-60 days for a hearing date.  In order to "go ex parte" you have to have grounds showing that there would be irreparable harm if the issue was delayed, thus necessitating the emergency hearing. 

Anyways, back to the story.... I had to give ex parte notice to my client's ex wife.  Ex parte notice generally must be done by telephone call.  Here is my replicated transcript of the call (of course with identifying/irrelevant info omitted):

Me:     Hello this is Elizabeth with the Law Office of _____.

Her:    No! I am not talking to you. Anything you want to say to me can be done by email!

Me:     I am happy to memorialize our conversation with an email but I am required by law to notify you of tomorrow's ex parte hearing by way of telephone call. 

I then continued to give her the information as to where, when, why, etc. 

Throughout the entire conversation following her telling me she didn't want to speak with me, she SCREAMED over me repeating "E-MAIL E-MAIL E-MAIL E-MAIL E-MAIL E-MAIL". 

Upon stating all of the information I ended the phone call by hanging up.

Now I am not required to email her any of the information.  I shouldn't have.  Then she wouldn't have known where to go, what for, what time, etc.  But, as I am a nice person I emailed her a courtesy copy of the information and stated something to the effect of "here is the information I supplied to you by telephone call this morning". 

She promptly replied with "You're a liar". 

Sigh. Excellent.  I am appalled sometimes at how people behave.  This is a business.  I would never treat a business with such disrespect and unprofessionalism.  If you want to act as your own attorney (in this case she is choosing to be her own attorney it is not for financial reasons), you should act professionally as your own attorney.  Furthermore, what incentive would I have to lie?

Ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.


Laura Anne said...

I want to answer phones and make calls at your office for one day (only)! LOL

Dylana Suarez said...

Super lovely blog you have here!


Jen said...

I used to have people call and be sooo rude, just like that. It's crazy how disrespectful some people are to strangers.