You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
Mark W. Gifford, Wyoming State Bar Office of Bar Counsel Cheyenne, Wyoming
Sometimes, you just have to laugh. When I took this job in 2011, I was ill-prepared for the wide swath of citizen concerns that make their way to the Wyoming State Bar. A recent favorite is a complaint my office received, carefully written in pencil on lined notebook paper, from a detainee who was unhappy with his lawyer. He concluded his complaint: I know my 5th and 6th amendment rights however my attorney doesn't want to acknowledge I have them. Why is he representing people? If me a nobody knows more about the law than [my attorney] does, how did he pass his bar exam, and how did you pass him? I don't care who you are in life. I'm a criminal and proud to be one. [My attorney] is an attorney, he should be proud to be one. My point here is no matter what you do in life take pride in it and do it to the best or your abilities or don't do it at all.
Then there was the Bar applicant who appeared to have altered a document of some importance to her character and fitness screening. When confronted with the apparent alteration, she unabashedly proclaimed, “Yes, I altered it. I didn’t want the Character and Fitness Committee to see the actual document. I thought they might turn me down!” Needless to say, she is not practicing law in Wyoming.
One woman wanted to file a complaint against a Wyoming lawyer with the first name of Diane. When told that the Bar had no members with the last name provided by the caller, she said she would do some checking and get back to us. She called a few days later to report that she had found the lawyer, who had moved to California and changed her name to Feinstein.
Another hapless soul wanted to complain about her lawyer, who was representing her in post-divorce proceedings. Originally divorced in the early 1970s, her ex-husband was continuing to harass and steal from her. She was unhappy that her lawyer had not put a stop to the conduct. She later called to report the discovery that her lawyer was actually her ex-husband, so the...