One of the joys of being in the information age is that fee-shoppers have discovered email as a way to circumvent valid telephone practice (As in "I'm sorry, sir, our office policy prohibits quoting fees over the phone and non-lawyer staff from quoting fees at any time. Mr. UMRBlog will be happy to schedule an appointment for you and you can discuss any possible fee with him then. May I make you an appointment?" For the record, fee shoppers really don't want to make an appointment. They pretty much want the lawyer to take responsibility for their as yet undisclosed case for the lowest hourly or aggegate fee, which they don't intend to pay anyhow, while they provide a minimum of information about whatever the damn case may be. Now, however, they can get right into my email inbox. That's the back story. Here's what I actually got in my inbox a few years back. Note the capitalization and punctuation, as well.
how much do you charge? are you pro-bono? i have a case and need a lawyer so let me know what your rates are and maybe we can set something up.
In the sender block was just the name "Jeb Jones" (Changed to protect the fee shopper) of whom I had never heard.
My Composed Reply:
How much do you weigh? Since I charge by the pound, I cannot tell you how much I charge without you telling me how much you weigh. I suggest you get on the scale first thing in the morning, before breakfast, as that will lower your fee.
Thank you for asking. No I'm kind of neutral on Bono. Lyrics are too depressing and he spends too much time in Africa and not enough making happier music. I think his music would be happier if he spent less time in Africa. So, no, I guess you really couldn't say I'm pro-Bono.
I'm glad you have a case. That makes it much easier to haul your papers around. I hope it's one of those with the double shoulder strap. That is easier on you back.
I don't know about setting something up. Every time one sets something up--like with Legos or Tinker Toys, some clod always kicks it over.
Thank you for your thoughtful email.