Courteous correspondence (or lack of it) has been the subject of posts to this blog several times in the past. This week I think I have found the low point. A solicitor in the NT was fined $770 (7 penalty units) for this letter to a client:

Do not call me as your call would most certainly not be welcome … you are the most paranoid, pathetic client I have ever encountered … I suggest you get a life as I now understand why the offender in your matter would have felt compelled to slot you. … I otherwise confirm the settlement amount exceeded your expectations … for which you have expressed all the gratitude of a mangy dog with the heart the size of a split pea, with grub in it.”

I have found a number of references to this quote in ethics papers given by judicial officers and legal services commissioners. None of them give a citation and the matter must pre-date 2006. Those papers sadly also often reference the 1937 quote from US novelist Thomas Wolfe: “The more I have to deal with lawyers, the more I feel as if I have been compelled to take a voyage down a sewer in a glass bottom boat”.

Why do people do this? Conduct rule 4.1.2  to be honest and courteous in all dealings (not just correspondence) in the course of legal practice is not that hard to comply with! 

Creative commons acknowledgment for the photograph.