Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in Washington

A person (Joe) needs a ride to the airport and asks his buddy (John) to give him a ride. John says "Okay, but you need to give me a ride to the airport next month when I go to my sister's wedding." Joe gets out of the car at the airport and says "I owe you one, mate." A month later, John calls Joe for a ride to the airport, as stated when he provided a ride for Joe but Joe now says he can't take John because he has a date. Is Joe's promise legally enforceable?

Asked on 11/17/11, 4:15 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

James J. White, attorney Law Offices of Smith & White, PLLC

This question is academic. In fact, so much so that I'm sorry but you'll have to do your own homework.

At your service,

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Answered on 11/17/11, 4:26 pm
Amir John Showrai The Pacific Law Firm, PLLC

Mr. White has it right. If you really want to be a lawyer, you will learn that you need to start to think like a lawyer. Lawyers are no different than others in that when we're stuck, we ask for help, and sometimes people bail us out the way you are asking for. However, there are plenty of times that no one can or will bail us out and the client depends on us to figure out how to deal with the situation.

Law school is all about figuring it out for yourself, so the law school can certify (via a law degree) that you are capable of getting the job done. If you can't get it done on your own, and you manage to get bailed out all the way through the bar exam, you'll wind up being a miserable lawyer. You'll constantly find yourself needing to be bailed out and in real life, where there is no law school hypo for someone to bail you out of. It gets complicated and sticky because real people's lives are at stake.

Eventually, you will wind up being sued for malpractice, suspended from practice, or disbarred, or all of the above. You may become depressed, start to abuse some substance, and lose your spouse and children that you may then have. None of this will occur because you are a bad person, so much as a cheater who is reaping their reward. The legal field already has a very high rate of substance abuse and suicide by attorneys who know what they are doing but get caught up by the pressure of the job, or the direct consequences of the job. For example, your boss demands you work 6 days a week and you never see your family, then one day tend years later, you realize you sacrificed your family for a law firm, and you get depressed.

I am not writing this to make fun of you, nor to discourage you. I write this for you to seriously consider whether you are just being lazy or if you are desperate. You see, if you are lazy, well then I say, get to work! If on the other hand you are truly incapable, then quit now and find something you can do. Don't just struggle through law school because your parents expect it, or because you don't know what else to do. You'll be stuck with a ton of debt and no future.

Look, I care about the profession, and if you join us, do so honorably, and you will be happy. It's already cost me 10 minutes to write this out to you. Writing this to you has cost me about $50 at my hourly rate, that I could be working on a client's matter. I write this to let you know I also care about you. There were lots of people I knew in law school who were all there for all the wrong reasons, be it parental expectations, not knowing what else to do, or they loved a Grisham novel turned into a film. I was friends with some of them, and all the ones who got out early, were happy that someone helped them realize law was not for them. I have some friends who got through, hate what they do, hate their lives, and spend all their free time trying to find something else to do.

I know you just wanted a quick answer to an academic question, and perhaps what I've written here is overkill, but consider that what you have is a symptom of a greater problem that will be magnified the further along you go in a law career. If after careful evaluation, you decide law is not for you, then good for you, get out and find what is right for you, and do it with gusto.

If you decide that law is for you, then figure out the answer to that problem you posted yourself. If you can enjoy the process, then you know law is a career for you, and that you will be happy being a lawyer. The less it seems like work, and the more it seems like fun, the better you tend to be added, and the happier you will be in your new career. The more it seems like work, the more you need to rely on others to get the job done, the more miserable you will be. Think carefully before you proceed, and best of luck to you.

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Answered on 11/17/11, 4:51 pm

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