Please call your lawyer. Part II.
The phrase, “I’m calling my lawyer!” and its many consumer-screamed derivatives including “My husband/wife/uncle/cousin is an attorney,” have jumped the shark.
Listen to this recent mis-use of the lawyer scare card:
At a show in NYC, a woman had to be escorted out of the theater in handcuffs after refusing to put away her guinea pig (?) and for spewing hate speech. The show that she was (not) seeing inevitably started late. Here’s a quote from the show report . . .
Most of the audience members were very patient and understanding with the exception of one man who threatened to sue us because we were starting the show late.
Remember when this sort of phrase used to get you all sweaty? You didn’t want the big bad lawyers to come huffin’ and puffin’ and trying to blow your house down.
I’d bet some of you have even used this once or twice when you were dealing with a company that wasn’t giving you what you wanted (come on, admit it).
All customer service reps, including theater owners, managers, box office staff, etc are going to hear this at one point or another. And for me, when someone says, “I’m going to contact my lawyer unless . . . “, that’s the equivalent of them using the “F” word.
When someone swears at me or a member of my staff, they’ve just given us the right to shut down and stop helping them.
And when someone uses the “L” word, they have also drawn a line in the sand. That’s when I say, “Please do contact your lawyer. In fact, here is the name/address/phone/email/fax/skype of my law firm who I have on retainer, and they would be happy to speak to yours at any time. Thank you for taking this uncomfortable situation out of our hands and putting it into the hands of professionals.”
That usually elicits a blank stare. And some back tracking.
Odds are that the consumer is never going to do anything. They were just looking to scare you. But you’re smarter than that.
And frankly, this is the safest thing to do from a legal perspective as well. If the customer IS looking to pursue legal action, then you want to be very careful about anything you say and you want to take a hint from Miranda and shut up.
However, if they do want to contact your lawyer and you’re a show, you’ve probably got one on retainer getting a weekly fee. Let ’em earn it.
At some point in your career, you will probably have some sort of legal action against you, probably for a 1-800-LAWYER-ish slip-n-fall.
Don’t let it scare you. The best and biggest companies in the world get sued all the time. Consider it a sign of success.
Cuz we’re not afraid of big bad lawyers in wolf’s clothing anymore.
Yes. We are scared of them, so keep those half-rats out of the theaters, will ya?
Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.