Did you ever notice that in our zeal to be loving, caring, giving and kind during the holiday season, that sometimes it can go terribly wrong?
I am fortunate enough to be able to volunteer for a cause called “Wills for Heroes.” Lawyers, paralegals, law students, and notaries gather together at various times throughout the year to provide free wills, powers of attorney, and living wills to first responders and their spouses at no cost to them.
This requires the lawyers and other volunteers to attend a two hour training before the event to learn the general software and concepts before the clients arrive. There are experts in the field of wills and estates who review every document before the papers are signed and notarized and the first responders are sent on their merry way with up-to-date documents.
Some of the volunteers have no experience in this field and may be first time volunteers.
My table partner was one such volunteer. We hit it off quite well before any clients arrived. We were the last table to be assigned so we waited an additional hour before we met our first couple. During that hour we had a nice conversation about our law practices, our children and our midlife careers.
We agreed that she would type the answers on the computer and I would do the talking, as I have done these events for several years, and my practice deals with these types of issues on a regular basis. Her practice was only tangentially related to wills and powers of attorney, mostly as a courtesy to her litigation clients.
I love this gig. As lawyers, we really have a wonderful opportunity to give back something that is desperately needed by these local heroes, and is often pushed aside, mostly because of cost. So we are blessed to be able to share with our brave firefighters, police officers and emergency workers just one small gift of thanks.
But in the first five minutes of our first interview, I was in volunteer hell. My partner began peeling through the questions on the screen at warp speed. While I was discussing question 13 with the clients about a glitch in the law, Computer Cruella was on question 17.
I told my partner that I was troubled by the way the document was playing out based on the information she was entering, She just kept plowing along. So I asked her, very calmly and politely, like I would with a kindergartener:
“Would you mind if we just went back a few questions? I just would like to see where the document is going, because this is weird?”
With that she got up and walked away.
The client looked at me and said, “I guess she would mind.”
I was horrified. I was humiliated in front of the client and when “Don’t-tell-me-what-to-do” returned with the expert to give me my come-uppance, as I suspected, the expert agreed with me.
This happened at least four more times, in various ways. Each time, when she tattled on me, the expert agreed with me. Basically because I am an expert in this field. I take a back seat so I can sit with clients and help them get what they need. That’s the part that I enjoy.
I was tempted to leave Tattling Tessie to her own devices and go home. I just couldn’t desert these nice, unsuspecting first responders with the possibility of documents that didn’t meet their needs.
So I sucked it up.
We were volunteers. We were not getting paid or competing for clients. I just could not figure out why she had to be such a right fighter.
When we finished with our last clients, we said our farewells, and she said to me:
“It was so nice to meet you, I am definitely going to go home and buy your book!”
Thanks? and Merry Christmas!
“You Just have to Laugh…………”