Working Without a Contract Part Deux


I procrastinated for so long that it’s been almost a year since I wrote about this process. You can find the start of my journey in the post Saisir Prud’Homme. Nothing came of the initial letter so I’m forced to file a suit in Labor court.

I don’t have much to write on the matter just yet. It’s still early stages. The only difference between the first step and this step was price, which was 199€ (the demande letter is 98€).

In a way it’s for the best that I waited so long because the trial will be between end of January and July according to SPH. By that time Covid travel restrictions should be lifted and I can be in Paris. I am not well versed in French law so I won’t be representing myself. I found a lawyer the first time I went though this process so I’m going to ask that cabinet to represent me. 

It’s a shame. I have legal insurance through my job, which I obtained because of Christian Kinnersley threats. And yes legal insurance is apparently a thing now. I was signing up for my benefits and sandwiched between death and dismemberment and dental plans it was like “while you’re here you want some legal insurance?” For $6 a month, sure, why not, couldn’t come at a better time. I’m still waiting for the day Christian is forced to give back the belongings he stole from me. Keeping all of my lingerie and dresses is just weird. Anyway the insurance company covers the cost of legal fees, but not for foreign court proceedings. At least I don’t think… I should probably contact them just to verify. 

And this is no different than what they offer in France by the way. When you open a bank account, there are a few perks, and one of those perks is that the bank covers up to an amount of legal fees. If you have a French bank account ask your banker about it. I’m sure these benefits change from bank to bank, and I only know Société Générale. 

Thankfully the price of attorneys is cheaper in France compared to the US. The attorney I spoke to in January originally quoted me 1500€ for the cost of trial, and that is a lot less than what American attorneys charge. My lawyer for my fakakta situation with Christian charges four times that for a retainer and a couple hundred an hour. He’s good, and his specialization is a unique area of the law so he costs, but it’s still outrageous. Thank the French for socialism. They really do make life easier. 

My only misgivings about the French attorney is that he didn’t seem very tough. Take for instance when I found my American attorney. His reaction was “I’m going to slaughter him in court”. He had already come up with 5 different ways to win. And that’s what you want when you hire an attorney. You want someone who is gleeful at the thought of completely annihilating and humiliating his opponent. You want someone who can look at you and say “I’m going to win because I’m better at this than they are”. And the French attorney never inspired that kind of confidence, much less said those things. Maybe it’s an American outlook on law, to want someone who goes for the jugular, but when I asked him if he thought we could win he was vague…talk about a buzzkill. 

I guess I shouldn’t say all French attorneys are that way. My ex is a lawyer. Luckily I’m friendly with, or still talk to most of my exes, and they’ve always been pretty helpful when it comes to French things. I was going to ask him for recommendations because he’s always been helpful with matters of law in the past, but every time I talk to him he tries to go on a date, or talks about how he hopes he’ll ‘bump into me’ (he’s a runner, and he used to run near my apartment everyday for years in the hopes it would happen. It would be sweet if it wasn’t kind of stalker-ish). That ship sailed 7 years ago and being beholden isn’t my jam. But he’s dominating, competitive, and shrewd for an Armani wearing, Marais dwelling entertainment lawyer. I want that. He’d probably represent me for free if I agreed to dinner. Shame I’m fighting the wrong kind of contract. Unfortunately he’s only used to dealing with writers and musicians, and would be of no help. 

The process for the judiciaire was basically the same as the process amiable, but surpassingly easier than I thought it should be considering the gravity of the situation; SPH asks some questions, most of which come from the original letter they sent. They write it all up. You verify everything is correct, and they send the documents to the court for you. The only difference is that the evidence (text messages) needs to be translated, but it sounds relatively straight forward. A trial will be set and the proceedings will begin. How long that goes for is anyone’s guess. 

I’ll write more about it later on. I haven’t given the attorney’s name because I don’t feel comfortable endorsing him yet. Let’s see how he does in court. 

I’m actually surprised that the trial is so soon. French courts are notorious for being incredibly slow, and with Covid and lockdowns in France, I am shocked that a trial will take place within 6 months. I’ll write more about the process once it begins (or ends). Hopefully there will be little need for input from me. Why else do you hire an attorney?

If you ever find yourself in a legal dispute regarding employment in France, contact the Saisir Prud’Homme. A poster on Facebook gave me the information and I am grateful because I, and others, did not know this service existed. They have really made everything simpler.