Another funny thing about personal injury firms is that they're almost pathologically cheap when it comes to office space & office supplies. Usually these firms are in some grungy little bodega-sized storefront in an outer borough, or in like windowless D-class Manhattan office space (mine was the latter).
You see, personal injury "clients" are mostly dirt poor, uneducated folks- in fact, many are homeless. That said, it's pointless to piss away $$$ on nice offices and such since anywhere with chairs and running water is likely to be a huge upgrade from what they're used to.
So when I first started at the firm I finished cutting/pasting a boilerplate motion together, and asked the boss where the exhibit tabs were kept. He looked at me like I'd asked him when my new Ferrari would be ready to pick up from the dealership.
"I don't waste money on that shit," he said. Then he tells me to go next door and ask X (the other partner) where to get them from.
So I roll in and X is screaming on the phone at some angry crackhead about her trip n' slip case and why she hasn't "got paid yet" and the typical ranting & shit. When he's done I ask him if he has any exhibit tabs. I forgot to mention that his office looked like the inside of a recycling depot, with about 10,000 old newspapers thrown all over, motions stacked up the ceiling, garbage pretty much everywhere.
He grunts and then fishes a Defendant's motion from a pile of shit next to his desk, then pulls a bent flathead screwdriver from the desk drawer and proceeds to pry the Velotext binding apart. The he tosses me the loose exhibit tabs and says "I'll leave this screwdriver on the desk so you can use it whenever."
That's how they rolled. Prying apart incoming motions to plunder their office supply content. Another funny thing was that they bought those knockoff printer toners from a dood on Canal Street who sold them off the back of a station wagon. They were terrible and all our papers looked like a charcoal briquette had been rubbed across them. One time a judge in Queens asked me if I moonlighted as a chimney sweep and was cracking up at how illegible the shit was.
Another funny habit of my boss was bringing dead batteries back to Duane Reade. The office had one of those electric combination locks on it, since turnover there was so high that he'd have to change keys about 6 times a month if it had a regular lock. Easier just to re-program the combination when someone quit/got fired/committed suicide etc.
So about every month or so the lock needed 4 new "AA" size batteries. The cheap ass would keep the battery package and have the secretary bring the dead ones back to Duane Reade scotch-taped into the pack and tell the clerk that they were dead when we bought them, etc. It worked every fucking time and was one of his big claims to fame. He said he learned that trick growing up in East New York, where he had a bunch of toy robots in the 1950s or whatever and always got free batteries by using that "trick."
He was very popular because his robots always ran full steam on fresh batteries, which were apparently very expensive back then. He was the talk of the town.
Here's another story: In NYC, when you settle an injury case for a minor under 18, the judge has to approve the settlement and review it's terms, etc. If the judge thinks its a shit deal, they can void the settlement and force you to trial. It's called an "Infant Compromise Order" and these appearances are very dicey, since so many PI firms are sleazy and try to inflate phantom "expenses" and other stuff to grab a few extra $$$ from the kiddies.
The judge sets up the bank account for the child directly, and NO ONE can touch a dime of the loot without court order once deposited. Esp. not the parents, who would of course piss it away in 5 minutes if given the chance.
So I roll into this Infant Comp hearing in the Bronx one day and find the clients ( a 9 year old kid) and his dad sitting on the bench outside the courtroom. Dad is a real gang-banger- gold tooth, gang tatts, scars, etc. He greeted me by saying "Where the fuck is Mister X?" (my boss).
I told him I worked for Mr. X and was there to cover the appearance and explain the settlement terms to him. This was a "heavy" case (in PI lingo anything worth north of 100 K is called a "heavy case" fyi.) The kid had lead poisoning from eating the flakes & stuff like potato chips in whatever housing project they called home. Anything over a 10 is a high lead reading, this kid had a 64 and had suffered permanent brain damage and learning disabilities, etc. The settlement was around 450 K, so the kid would take home 300 K after our fee.
So the dad says "Did you bring my check" and I told him "that's not how it works, the judge puts the money in a bank account until the kid turns 18."
Oh boy was this guy pissed. I forgot to mention he had an Escalade brochure in his hand and apparently planned a visit to the Cadilliac dealership right after court. He said he needed a car to drive the kid to day care, and how he was going to explain all of that to the judge. I told him it was highly unlikely that the judge would let him buy a luxury SUV with his kid's brain damage money, but this guy wanted no part of listening. He already had put his headphones back on.
There was no way I could let this settlement get voided. You see, in Shitlaw every single thing that ever goes wrong is all YOUR fault. There is also absolutely no training whatsoever, it is "sink or swim" from day one. Questions are not encouraged, since these guys have to spend every working minute scrounging for and signing up new cases, and settling old ones. Asking questions is a quick way to get canned, I saw it happen to about a dozen guys in the year and a half I worked there.
Thank God it turned out this guy wasn't even the kid's real father or guardian. The judge's clerk asked for his ID before the hearing and, seeing a different last name, asked a few questions. Turns out he was the mom's current boyfriend and she sent him over there to pick up the check. He started getting loud and all, so the bailiff came over and they bounced outta there real quick. I told the clerk to re-calendar the thing and we'd try to track down the mother for the next appearance.
So back at the office I get screamed at for not "following up" and getting the mom into court. I told him that I only learned of the appearance yesterday and was in deposition until 5 pm and had left a message on their machine, etc. He said next time to use "Sherlock." That's another funny story.
You see, it's very hard to keep tabs on injury clients, since many are in gangs, homeless, moving around public housing etc. When you finally get a fucking settlement, the work has only just begun because you then have to track these losers down and have them sign the release. So we used this shady "private eye" named Sherlock who was a former NY cop who I think did some jail time in the 80s. Sherlock's trick was to put word out "on the street" that the client had won millions in cash and had to show up at the courthouse at 9 am to have the claim form notarized. It was a great trick to get them in there, but not much fun when you have to explain that in fact they're getting 9 K for a herniated disc from their fender-bender.
Oh, those were the days. BTW don't go getting all excited about signing up lead paint cases. That horse long ago limped off to the glue factory. You see, almost ALL the NYC lead cases were against an insurance carrier named Firemen's Fund, who insured all the public housing in NYC and a lot of ghetto private properties. Some genius left the lead paint policy exclusion out of almost every policy written in 2000-2001, so it started a shitlaw feeding frenzy once word got out. My boss scored millions on this shit by having doorknob-hanger ads made up and hung from every crackhouse & hovel in NYC. Some lawyers were even having runners scrape lead paint off abandoned buildings and dumping it in people's apartments so they could cash out if the kid's lead levels were marginal (even marginal cases could get you 25 K or so nusiance value).
Those cases are now mostly all gone/settled. ALL the new policies have lead paint exclusions, so even if the kid is pouring skim milk on a bowl of lead paint flakes each morning, you ain't getting a dime.