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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

This Is NOT Proper Customer Service.

Dear State Board of Grand Poohbas,

I appreciate your effort to let us, the bar takers, know if we passed on Friday August 30th. However afterwards something went horribly wrong. Please follow the timeline I'm about to describe and see for yourselves.

Saturday October 8: my mailbox received instructions on the swearing in ceremony and several forms for the Nothern and Southern Districts of this fine state in relation to the federal judiciary.

Sunday October 9: I arrive home and discover the before mentioned materials in my mailbox. I'm happy to discover the date, time, and location of the swearing in ceremony. I'm happy to learn the first year of practicing law in the state courts is free, and I will get my first bill next August. However I was most disappointed in the fact I owe two (2) $160 checks to the two federal districts in this state. Could someone have warned us about that ahead of time? Not everyone has a job yet so $320 is a bit of money to suddenly come up with. Oh by the way, the forms and checks are due Tuesday October 11th. This will be a problem in a minute.

Monday October 10: Columbus Day. Please note no mail and no federal court is open that day. I called just to make sure and was in a voicemail hell. I filled out the paperwork and wrote the checks ahead of time.

Tuesday October 11: this is the first day the courthouses are open and the mail runs. I'm not concerned about the Southern District courthouse as it is a 15 minute drive for me to reach. The Northern District courthouse is almost 3 hours away in South Bend. Luckily I cancelled my availability for a job (that thing that provides money) to take care of this situation. I called South Bend and the clerk was very understanding. She knew the forms hadn't arrived until Saturday. Actually I know some people don't even have them as of Monday.

Luckily the clerk had two suggestions: 1) overnight mail the forms and checks to her or 2) leave a correct spelling of my name so my certificate can be printed, then take the forms and check with me to the swearing in ceremony next week.

I thanked the clerk for her time and decided on the first option as I didn't want to deal with extra stuff on the day of my swearing in. Besides I already had the day off and had to go downtown to drop off the material to the other courthouse. Adding a trip to the post office would be minimal effort.

I did the above things and this situation is resolved now. However, why the worry on my part? In previous jobs I've dealt with numerous mail mailings. We found that putting the stuff in envelopes ahead of time since the contents were always the same worked great. Then we used a list created in Microsoft Word to print out names and addresses on Avery labels. We simply slapped the preprinted labels on the envelopes and mailed them out.

It appears you did something similar so I'm at a loss to explain the delay. Nothing in the paperwork had my name on it so the content of every envelope was generic and identical. Perhaps materials didn't get to you on time. Perhaps someone was sick. Still the timing simply didn't work and now numerous people are worried about doing something wrong or something being messed up on their end. If it is a manpower issue, please give some people on the list a call. We'll be happy to help out for a nominal fee.

I also feel sorry for the clerks. They will be getting a lot of phone calls today. Having been under siege to incoming calls I feel their pain. I hope this was a one time mix-up as the alternative would concern me.


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