My father died when I was a sophomore in high school. I was attending a Catholic School. To help pay the tuition (which my mother could no longer afford) I began washing dishes in the cafeteria during lunch. I earned a scholarship to undergraduate school, but it did not cover everything so I worked the entire time I was an undergraduate. . . . break from school to get married and have two sons . . . I always wanted to be an attorney so I applied to law school. By then, I was a single mother so I obtained student loans and worked as a law clerk — the whole way through school. I passed the bar and — IT HAD HAPPENED — I had become a lawyer. All these years later, I am still an attorney completing my 27th year of practice. I specialize in Federal Criminal Defense, e.g., bank robbery, big drug distribution cases, murders on the Indian reservations. I still like what I do for a living and try to carefully guard my reputation.
When I have not specifically established an attorney/client relationship with a person, conversations with that person are not covered by attorney/client privilege. Every word I speak is not cloaked in “attorneyness.” My day-to-day opinions are simply my personal opinions — not legal opinions. If I say something that makes sense to you, and you choose to follow that course — great! I’m glad it was helpful, but it was not legal advice.
As anyone who reads this Blog knows, I have Cardigan Welsh Corgis. I love the dogs. They are my companions and breeding (occasionally), training and showing them is my hobby. Probably because I am an attorney, but not as an attorney, I use written contracts when I buy or sell a dog, lease a dog, breed a dog, or permit someone to breed to Chase. It makes life easier for everyone when those things to which we have agreed are in writing — particularly a few years down the road when memory has faded. I have drafted and then tinkered with those contracts. I have shared them with many people who want to develop their own contracts for their own dog hobby. They were not written as attorney products nor shared as attorney products. I try to be cognizant of others’ contracts as they pertain to a dog in which I might have an interest.
So all that leads to an issue, ongoing for the past five or six weeks. I am aware of a pretty red dog with a lovely pedigree. Her breeder, her owner and I have over the years discussed breeding her to Chase. She just turned three years old. In early June, I told her breeder (as a courtesy) that I was interested in leasing her from her owner. The breeder does not have a written contract with the owner and does not co-own the female. The breeder indicated that “since it was me, and since she would be bred to Chase,” she did not have any objection. I then set about agreeing on terms with the owner. I sent the owner a Lease Agreement which we both signed, and I sent the American Kennel Club a Lease Notification. I made arrangements to get the pretty girl to my home so she and Chase could get to know one another and she could be comfortable in my home.
Suddenly, the breeder decided she had been betrayed and stabbed in the back. She began posting horrible accusations on Facebook and on her Blog, using my name. I have never responded — just not big on the public forum for resolving issues. Last week the breeder with whom I have no agreement, contract, etc. filed a complaint with the Disciplinary Board of my State Bar Association. Since the contents of the complaint are CONFIDENTIAL, I can only say that the accusations are beyond the pale. I will say that I am appalled that this person would attempt to interfere with my professional life which is totally separate from my dog hobby.
It does not matter your education or training, the actions and rantings of a friend can be most hurtful. Today I am speaking as a regular person feeling the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune — not as an attorney.