Testing a Client’s Sense of Humor

Five years ago, an American lady contacted me about applying for German citizenship. She fell into that group of people who could qualify without living in Germany, but she would need to pass the German language test at a high level.

She had paid a consultation fee, I had assessed her case, we had discussed it, everything was on track.

Now, five years later, she e-mails me again, saying that she narrowly missed the required number of points in the C1 exam. That’s actually still very impressive, as C1 is the level required for university studies in German. Even if you miss that by a few points, it signifies an extremely good command of the language, possibly at a higher level than some native German speakers.

Naturally, my advice was to simply retake the exam after studying and practicing a bit. You can retake it as often as you want.

That advice did not make the lady happy. She asked if we couldn’t argue some exception. I told her that it would be a waste of her money and, more importantly, my time. In any case, I had already given her the best possible advice. For free! She kept insisting on submitting her application for German citizenship without retaking the test and asked me what I would charge for reviewing her application.

Two-hundred euros, I said, generously, to which she replied:

Okay. And before I pay you a fee for your help, I’m hoping to better assess my chances before I apply. Do most Americans in my situation request dual citizenship? I see that on the application, it asks why you would not give up your former citizenship. What is an acceptable answer to this? My answer is that once my children are in college, I would like to move to Germany to be near my mother’s side of the family. This is still some years away, hence, the reason for requesting both citizenships.

That sounded like someone was trying to get me to answer even more questions for free, something I have become rather allergic to.

Hence my short reply:

​Before I answer your questions prior to potentially receiving payment, let me quickly go to the bakery and eat the cake before I decide if I want to pay for it.

This is the moment when a client with a sense of humor would wire the money and make a joke about cake. Not this one:

I take offense to your snarky response

I paid you quite a bit of money in 2014 for help with this application

I would have been willing to pay you more to help me see this through until receiving your email. My last connection to my family in Germany was my mother who just passed away through suicide

Obtaining dual citizenship is close to my heart as the rest of her family is still in Germany

I’m disappointed but have to remember not everyone has a kind spirit

At least my spirit was kind enough not to tell her that I approve of her mother’s suicide.



About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in German Law, Language, Law and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Testing a Client’s Sense of Humor

  1. deeess says:

    So does that mean you are now accepting cakes as payment? Or does it mean that we can ‘test-drive’ baked goods without paying first?

  2. Mattej says:

    I love when you are snarky.
    Everyone expects things for free.
    I always show what I can do and give a sample to show I’m legit.
    You know more than the consul folk and
    you have billls to pay Mr. Nomad. She should see the price of a stupid lawyer that will milk her and give her half-assed answers.
    Your 4 passport holder follower!

    • I like people who appreciate my snarky side!

      When I will finally get to write an article about dual citizenship, I have to contact you to use your example of holding four citizenships. So far, you hold the record, at least among the people whom I know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mattej: You have divided allegiances, big-style.

    • Like the pizza quattro stagioni.

  3. I like broetchen. Does that make me eligible for German citizenship> Does it matter that I can’t stand DAB?

  4. David Spear says:

    Actually, I’m more inclined to think that your subtly witty response was a bit out of place,

  5. David Spear says:

    … having thus far conducted your business with that lady in all seriousness.

  6. Anonymous says:

    David: Relax, dude.

    • I actually appreciated David’s comment.
      We all need to stop sometimes and wonder if we haven’t gone too far, in an attempt to be funny.

  7. Jan Parry says:

    yes, ouch. I have seen and appreciated your legal blog some time ago and have been entranced today by your Bavarian sojourns. When and where can I hear your further discoveries/analysis of the wretched end to the life of King Ludwig II ?

    • Hello Jan,
      thank you very much for your feedback!
      The story of my walk in the footsteps of King Ludwig II, leading to his most famous castle of Neuschwanstein, became so long that I am publishing it in weekly intervals.
      The history will be a bit over the place because I began the walk in Berg by Lake Starnberg, where Ludwig II died, but I didn’t want to reveal too much at the beginning.
      If you get an e-mail subscription, you will automatically receive all new posts. Or you can look up the ones already published at https://andreasmoser.blog/tag/king-ludwig-trail/ . The English version is published each Saturday, and there are still 5 more segments to come. (It’s taking me longer to write than to walk the 110 km.)

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