Those profound words of wisdom spoken by Humpty Dumpty in “Through the Looking Glass has special relevance in the world of Law. Clients often want to know, in no uncertain terms, what is going to happen. While I win?; How Long will it take?; What is the Answer?; Can you Guarantee? How much will it cost? are all questions I get after clients give me a one sided, 5 minute summary of their problem. While I do my best to estimate my fees and give an educated guess as to the outcome of a case, no one, no lawyer, can guarantee a result. In fact the entire Court system with motions and appeals, and different courts is based on the fact that in real life nothing is crystal clear. Most of the time the issues are clear enough so the answer to a legal problem is clear, except of course when they’re not. Take for example a simple case of tenant being evicted for non-payment of rent.
Simple enough, you don’t pay your rent you can be evicted. Except of course, if you were being overcharged, then rent control laws might determine that, not only will the tenant not be evicted, that the Landlord owes the Tenant money. Or if the rent was held back because the condition of apartment was substandard, then the Tenant can not only stay but the Landlord would have to fix up the apartment. Or how about the case when the Landlord tries to collect rent, even though he lost control of the property though a foreclosure, and is not entitled to collect the rent. Or how about the case when the tenant, having not paid rent, files for bankruptcy, then the Landlord is prevented from evicting the tenant because the Bankruptcy laws stay all proceedings.