If you practice criminal defense, you may have experienced this phenomenon as well. In our practice, we tend to see an annual brief dip in the volume of criminal matters that come to our office. This usually happens around the beginning of the season of Lent. For my non-catholic readers, Lent is a forty-day period before Easter that serves as a period of repentance. During this period, many Catholics attempt to give up vices like alcohol and chocolate. Hence the dip. Of course, most do not make it through the 40 days. In fact, most veer off their path of repentance on or about St. Patty's Day. At this point, the chart points back up. Each year like clockwork, I see groggy green clad clients coming from glen to glen seeking legal assistance. They come bearing arrest reports with charges ranging from driving under the influence to assault on a leprechaun. (Editors note: Yes, we actually had a client who was arrested for fighting with a little person dressed as a leprechaun).
Et tu Attorney Brutus?
Today, I met with a client who decided to celebrate St. Patty's Day a weekend early. After leaving a place where everyone knew his name, he set sail with three sheets to the wind. Not surprisingly, he was arrested for driving under the influence. The next day, he river-danced his way into my firm with a stack of solicitation letters. He was shopping for a lawyer.
Although most of the letters seemed to be prepared in accordance with ethics rules, I was surprised at the "sales pitch" some were using. One attorney offered that he could beat absolutely any price. The prospective client had met with "Crazy Eddie " at a Dunkin Donuts. Apparently, the soliciting attorney did not have an office. He had a cell phone. The client decided to turn him down because he did not feel comfortable talking about his arrest while people were getting their lattes.
And so go the ides of March. They are upon us.
Editor's Note: Truth be told, I noticed that my own law practice tends to follow the whims of the seasons. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve and St. Patty's day tend to produce more clients seeking help for a DUI arrest. Christmas cheer is usually followed by small claims suits. Valentines Day is followed by an increase in divorces. July 4th and the summer holidays, I get an increase in requests for wills. For some reason, people getting on planes to warmer locales feel the need to make sure that their estates are in order. I wonder what Arbor Day will bring this year.