I recently received this email and thought I would ask your advice about how to respond. You see I am currently unemployed and this job offer would be such a big help for me to put food on my family table.
Subject: ATTENTION: COUNSELLOR
We, the management of Toho Technology (H.K.)Co Ltd., require your legal representation for our North American customers. We are of the opinion that the ability to consolidate payments from North America will eradicate delays due to inter-continental monetary transaction between Asia and North America.
We understand that a proper Attorney-Client retainer will provide the necessary authorization and we are most inclined to commence talks as soon as possible. Your consideration of our request is highly anticipated and we look forward to your prompt response to Email: Jun.firstname.lastname@example.org
I really think this could be my answer from God on High. My chicken in every pot. My pig in a poke. I have to admit that secretly I find this way too good to be true. But, I do have a current food problem. You see, Hank, I am a simple man, a graphic designer by trade. I haven’t ever considered the newly proposed idea that I become an attorney. I wouldn’t have a clue of how to begin.
My first thought was “Ask Hank”, followed immediately by “you dummy. You freakin’ lucky dummy!”
What do you advise?
-Arturo Verdaná Ròmán
It has always been Hank’s opinion that if someone (offerer) is stupid enough to offer up money without verifying the authenticity of someone’s (offeree’s) credentials, then the offeree (that’s you) better dang well be smart enough to take the money and run. With that said, I concur that you are a freakin’ lucky dummy, so here’s what you should do.
First, thank your lucky stars that you just happen to be a graphic designer because you can now design and print up some really authentic-looking business cards and stationery. In great big letters, type “COUNSELLOR AD LITEM” on the top of the card and don’t forget to put a glaring gold “Lady Justice” symbol someplace on the card. Do not print your name or address. It is suggested that you create a new Gmail account and put that on there for your contact information. Big law firms do that all the time, especially the ones whose names are so long that they take up the entire space on the business card.
Which leads me to my next suggestion. Make up a really long name for your law firm. Something really important sounding like Cheney, Libby, Bush, Perino, Rummy, Nixon and Nixon, P.A. That should really get their attention and will most likely get them to offer up a bigger sum of money that to say a firm by the name of Gore & Gore, P.A.
Next, you should respond to the e-mail with your firm name at the top of your response. I wouldn’t be too greedy, but if you explain to your prospective clients that since this is an international issue, your fees are going to have to reflect that, a request for $10,000 to $15,000 as a retainer will most likely be met with agreement. Tell them it is your firm policy not to discuss anything about the case with them until you have the retainer in hand. Makes it sound like you already know what you are doing.
Finally, use big words in Latin when you write back. Resist the urge to start off with “r u freakin’ kiddin’ me Mo Tse?” and instead begin your e-mail with something to the effect of “Dear Sirs, I received your a priori missive and will abrogate that my firm stands ready to testatrix the transactional habeus corporatus within the contractual availability of time allowances.” That should leave no doubt in their minds that they are dealing with a bona fide attorney.
Include your real bank routing information and the rest you can just make up as you go along. Once you have the retainer securely in your bank account, I would suggest using a small portion of it to relocate you and your family to another town just to be on the safe side, close all your Gmail and bank accounts, and then just lay low for a few months.
And don’t feel bad about taking the money. Word on the street has it that the Asian markets are doing really well these days. A few thousand dollars lost to a misunderstanding won’t even be missed.
If you’ve got a question for Hank that you need answered, just send it in using our CONTACT page (linked at the top of the page). Remember, Hank puts the “guy” in DIY.