There is a saying in law that the more you talk the more you are paid and it may be true. If you study what an advocate’s robe looks like, you will find a funny piece of cloth at the back, in the old days that was where you, as client / abused one, added the money and unless the learned fellow felt the weight of the gold coins, he would stop talking. If he believed, and he always did, that it was not heavily enough loaded, he had a cord (also on the robe today) to pull hard on it, like a church bell, so the coins could be clinking away, making you understand, he is fast running out of words. Anyway, that is the folk lore on advocate (barrister in the UK, same animal) robes. I would have added stones and still get better service as we saw with the recent MNET fiasco & Gareth Cliff, I am sure you followed it with great glee.
I cannot say I am a fan of Mr Cliff, I never listened to his radio commentary and I will not watch rubbish like Idols either, if I want to see people humiliated I will walk to the nearest “job agency” and quietly observe the desperate unemployed waiting for a chance to explain to a snotkoppie (Afrikaans, loathsome youngster) why he or she should be appointed as a salary slave somewhere. That is real humiliation. However, I am glad that common sense is actually still alive and well in the courts even if not in the law offices and board rooms of this country. That case should never have gone to the courts, as with the banner add, you will recall, when Cell C saw their asses so badly in court last year, this could have and should have been dealt with differently. But you often find big companies acting like hooligans because they can, throwing money (their lawyers cost a lot, unnecessarily so) in the hope that the man taking them on, will run away and settle. No one, unless rich or extremely angry, can afford a lawyer and no lawyer wants a poor client either. It is a well-known legal tactic to create expensive legal fees and a disgusting one making the playing field very one sided – you can read about it and other scams in my book “Tricks of Trade – Memories of a Rogue Lawyer” if bored enough. This is by the way, what I wish to talk about today is how to annoy a professional man with time constraints.
Last week I decided to help some people and God knows, learn this lesson in life, whenever you try to help for free, you are always abused. Don’t even bother, I saw this with my books also, you write a book, you give it away free in the earnest desire to help those who cannot afford legal fees, and they say “ah, it is free, it must be crap, no, we will not read it, we will rather suffer!” There are certain things in life which is complicated, law is one of them despite that I say it is not rocket science either, once you get the basics (that will take 5 to 6 years of study) and another few years of listening to lies and whiners (law practise to you), you will be able to say with fair amount of accuracy what the problem is and how to solve it theoretically. And to explain to the client what needs to be done, he has to get it since he is incurring costs, may take some time. This is a requirement, actually, that he gets what you say (most lawyers don’t bother, they gave up explaining the same thing long time ago). Anyone will comprehend this principle in life and yes, lawyers are like authors, boring people unless they talk about something they actually know something about. Then you have to say to them, eh, you have an hour or whatever was agreed.
I agreed and arranged to see these people for an hour and waved my fee, because I am willing to help. And I have helped before, in 2013 I published a short article, about 70 pages, on home security, it saved many lives since then and I get emails from across the world, thanking me. From this I developed a free hour long presentation, to show how the uniquely effective system works, and how to save your family because I can tell you, an alarm and armed response is not, repeat not, effective. So imagine my surprise when I said to the fellows, “welcome and note, this will take an hour, do you wish to have some coffee” and the reply came back “If you cannot explain in ten minutes, you don’t know what you are talking about!”
I am sure I can explain to you how sex works in ten minutes, hell, like most men I would be able to demonstrate too, I am sure (I won’t, just being silly to calm down – regrettably I am also sure many women are now nodding in agreement). I can tell you about the weather outside in ten minutes but I cannot explain a security system designed to take one hour in a presentation in ten minutes to you. Ordinarily, that is the time when I smile and shake hands and ask them to piss off. Listen to me, I speak from experience, if you wish to anger a professional man, tell him he has ten minutes when you agreed to 60 minutes beforehand. Needless to say, I doubt very much if I will hear from these people again and if they die because of the knowledge not gained, so be it, see the worry in my eyes. And that is the lesson in life which every criminal learns in court, his legal representative always goes home to the missus after trial, he may go and sleep with Buba. It is too funny for words. Ten minutes may cost you your life and you don’t even get it?
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a practicing commercial law attorney for eight years. He also wrote several books on business, law, counter terrorism and security issues. He is a widower and lives in Bloemfontein, South Africa.