URGENT!!! PRIORITY!!! PLEASE GIVE IMMEDIATE ATTENTION!!! PLEASE RESPOND AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! How often do you see communications with such missives? My phone system gives callers the option to put their messages at the head of the queue. My e-mail system gives senders the option to designate the message as a priority message and to separately flag the message so it appears at the top. And they take advantage of all of those options. More and more I find myself dealing with clients and other lawyers who seem to have lost perspective on how quickly their respective questions can or should be addressed and who insist on instant gratification. And it’s partly my fault as the lawyer. By acceding to those unreasonable time demands, we create expectations which will only increase much like spoiling a child with sweets in order to keep him quiet. I have a partner we affectionately refer to as "Captain Urgent" (actually that’s cleaned up for publication) who, I am quite sure, has neither sent nor, consequently, received a facsimile in the last 15 years which did not in some fashion indicate that it was of such importance that only the end of the world would be deserving of more immediate attention. To be sure, clients and opponents are entitled to prompt, courteous responses to their issues. On the other hand, we as professionals owe ourselves AND OUR LOVED ONES the basic right of time to contemplate and relax while providing the services which our clients need. Do not be afraid to insist on it at the beginning of the relationship. If your client chooses to go elsewhere, count yourself lucky as you likely will have avoided a beef to the ARDC as that client will never be happy with the results. (And if you think that diatribe being written by an editor who is on deadline is ironic, you’re right!)
This month we have a fine edition which focuses on many aspects of the interaction between the Social Security system and other substantive areas of law including ERISA, Social Security Disability, Special Needs Trusts, ADA and Social Security numbers for non-citizens. I wish to thank this month’s lead articles editor, David Bryant, for a job well-done. I also want to encourage you all to consider submitting entries for our writing contest. This year it is named in honor of the Honorable Anthony Peccarelli.
John Pcolinski, Jr., Editor