Lawyers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Scott made a very good point about attorneys in the thread about Fran. Since my reponse would have had nothing to do with the original topic, I'm being good and starting a new thread.



Scott said something to the effect of "there are two kind of lawyers, dirt bag lawyers, and the kind that do nothing about dirt bag lawyers." I apologize if that's not verbatim, but it's close.



Here's my thought. First of all, I'm not a defense lawyer, which are generally thought by many to be the scum of the earth. I'm a deputy Attorney General, and as such I am generally on the other side of the aisle.



I agree with you that the tactics of many defense lawyers, especially those we hear about in the news, have fallen to a level of pre-humanity. However, the role of a defense lawyer is CRUCIAL, it's just misunderstood. Defense lawyers are supposed to protect the constitutional rights of a defendant, and insure that a trial is fair, and that due process is protected. As an officer of the court, it's the job of a defense lawyer to simply be sure that their client is given the FAIREST trial possible.



This doesn't mean they are supposed to get their client off.



While disgusting, many of the tactics do serve a legitimate purpose. While we deplore the idea of a murder going free, the system is designed to error on the side of procedure. The idea is that it's okay to set a guitly person free, but it's NOT okay to convict an innocent person. That's the whole foundation of the system.



A good attorney will do their best to be sure that the fairest trial is granted their client.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    Fair enough.
  • Reply 2 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    It's funny you mention defense lawyers. I have almost no problem with them.



    My big gripe these days is with civil attorneys and corporate lawyers. Law these days is not about the law and a well-argued case. It's about what you can get away with using legal action or the threat of legal action. So many lawyers jump on the class action bandwagon just to get the money. It?s all a big game these days. It stopped being about the law a long time ago.



    My father wanted a legal building permit to build a house. It took 18 months. Why? The ****ing bitch next to him had enough money to keep paying a fscking lawyer to file appeal after appeal. A stupid building permit for a single family home on a lot zoned for single family home went all the way to the Vermont Supreme Court. But you know as long as the scumbag gets paid he?ll file one appeal after another. Oh wait it?s his clients "right" to be a ****ing bitch.



    Getting awards for damages when there are no damages? Lawyers getting big pay outs when clients are paid in Microsoft coupons? Teams of lawyers that sue people they?ve never met for violations they never verified? Corporate lawyers commanding that a web site stop doing whatever they are doing not because it?s a violation of the law but only because the web site can?t afford the suit? Companies whose business model is based on patent violation lawsuits? Playgrounds at school being taken down ?cause little Jonny?s Mom forgot his ritalin and did a back flip off the slide? Products that warn you not to do what you shouldn?t have to told not to do? Add it all up.



    Where?s the Bar Association in all this? Oh yea. They?re unhappy they are so hated. No word on their colleges that ruin this coutry. To borrow a phase from the post 9-11 anti-Americanism. "Hey lawyers! Can't you see why you?re so hated?".
  • Reply 3 of 34
    objra10objra10 Posts: 679member
    Scott,



    you make several more excellent points. First, I'm thankful that I'm not one of the lawyers you mentioned, but with that out of the way, there are a couple things that should be cleared up.



    First of all, while I agree that many of the examples you give are an indicaton of a serious problem in our country, however I disagree with where you place most of the blame.



    True, if there were no lawyers, there would be no frivilous lawsuits, however the code of ethics of law states that a lawyer is bound to represent his/her client, not their cause.



    Perhaps the problem is rooted deeper in the fabric of our culture. That [email protected]#*& that lived next to your relative was just that, but is it really the lawyers fault that she was so difficult?



    The courts have become a feeding ground for those who can't seem to solve their problems otherwise and a playground for the wealthy. "I can't get you to do what I want you to, fine I'll find a court that will force you to."



    Some of the worst abusers of this are organizations like the ACLU, who threaten all kinds of people with huge lawsuits, just because they know that they can force them into repression because they can't afford to fight.



    Are the lawyers who represent them scum? Maybe, but worse is the mentality behind those who pay for the lawyers.



    I agree with your analysis, I just think you've misplaced the blame.
  • Reply 4 of 34
    You're a lawyer but obviously a conservative one. Did you join the Federalist Society at UMich Law?
  • Reply 5 of 34
    objra10objra10 Posts: 679member
    I am pretty conservative, that is true. And no, I did not.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    Could you tell us about your law school experiences? I know it's been a while but I am very interested!
  • Reply 7 of 34
    objra10objra10 Posts: 679member
    SPJ,



    Well, I don't know specifically what you want to know, but I can say that the most memorable thing for me was that I was married, with two of my four children at the time. It was a huge challenge for us to raise children, me work full time, and go to school.



    Law school isn't easy, but then that's obvious. The hardest part about it is that you think you know everything. You thinknn that the law is this perfect insititution. Then you get into the real world and discover that it is this malleable piece of porus metal that isn't anything you thought it was.



    Funny thing is, most of the close friends that I still keep in touch with from law school aren't "lawyers" at all. In fact, only about 68% of law school graduates actually practice law. Many go into other corporate work, teach, or consult in non-legal environments.



    If you give me an idea of what you want to know, I can give you more information.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    I think they need to come up with a loser pays system. Maybe something where a judge could rule against someone with prejudice. A person could appeal from that point but if they lose they would have to pay the legal bills of the other person. That would help with these bullshit lawsuits that have no hope of ever winning yet some how get appeal after appeal filed because some person or company can afford it.



    We'll never get that. It would limit lawyer greed. Lawyers, as a special interest group, would never allow a law like that to be passed.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    i think the bigger problem with a loser pays system is that big companies with big bucks would kick the shit out of the little guys, who'd then always lose, then have to pay the big boys attorney's fees, thus bankrupting them.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    objra10objra10 Posts: 679member
    Actually, in most cases, the loser does pay court costs, attorney's fees, and treble damamges... meaning they pay triple the actual costs as punishment. So, if you're being sued, you can counter sue for costs, and if you win, you don't pay anything, the other person has to pay all of your costs.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    [quote]Originally posted by OBJRA10:

    <strong>Actually, in most cases, the loser does pay court costs, attorney's fees, and treble damamges... meaning they pay triple the actual costs as punishment. So, if you're being sued, you can counter sue for costs, and if you win, you don't pay anything, the other person has to pay all of your costs.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    This is why I think that the usual claims of "court abuse" are somewhat overblown. There is a system of checks and balances that oversee the system and although it might take years for things to play out (that's a travestly in and of itself), things usually settle down fairly in the end.



    Yes, there are exceptions. No, the McDonalds "fat" case is not one (at least not yet.)
  • Reply 12 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    The "McDonalds made me fat" one is one of them.



    Here's another idea. Everyone involved in a class action case has to appear before the judge at least once.



    Forum shopping? Filing your class action case against a drug company in the least educated county in Mississippi? How about expert juries for these cases?





    Did I forget to post a link to <a href="http://www.overlawyered.com"; target="_blank">OverLawyered</a>



    Hey bunge you like conspiracy theories. Think about this. Who writes the laws? Who (mostly) votes for these laws? Who makes the most money from a complex legal system? Who does the best job twisting the law for greed? Hummmmm?



    [ 01-29-2003: Message edited by: Scott ]</p>
  • Reply 13 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott:

    <strong>

    Hey bunge you like conspiracy theories. </strong><hr></blockquote>



    I do?



    Who writes the laws? I know I don't. I know the courts provide me with a means to protect myself from someone's abuse or ignorance of those laws though.
  • Reply 14 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    [quote]Originally posted by bunge:

    <strong>



    ...



    I know I don't. I know the courts provide me with a means to protect myself from someone's abuse or ignorance of those laws though.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Actually it doesn't. At least not in all cases. McDonalds for example abused no one and their products are not defective. Therefor you and everyone else have no recourse under the law.



    Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you can sue over it.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott:

    <strong>



    Actually it doesn't. At least not in all cases. McDonalds for example abused no one and their products are not defective. Therefor you and everyone else have no recourse under the law.



    Just because you don't like something doesn't mean you can sue over it.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    I just think it's for the judges, not you or me, to decide. I can sue over something I don't like, I just can't win without the law on my side. And if the law is on my side why would anyone want to interfere with that process?



    And in my statement I clearly say that "the courts provide me with a means to protect myself from someone's abuse or ignorance of those laws". So except when there is a miscarriage of justice, the courts do provide citizens with protection. And even in the case of a miscarriage, we have appeals (unless someone is dead and even then their name can be cleared.)



    So, I think you're wrong, but someone else feel free to chime in.
  • Reply 16 of 34
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    [quote]Originally posted by Scott:

    <strong>McDonalds for example abused no one and their products are not defective. Therefor you and everyone else have no recourse under the law.</strong><hr></blockquote>



    And the case was subsequently thrown out... what's your point? Do you contend that people shouldn't be allowed to bring these cases forward? How is the system to determine what is valid and what is not if it doesn't hear the complaint?



    I am very curious where you get the idea that "abuse" and "defective" are the only acceptable legal criterion.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    buggybuggy Posts: 83member
    I am not a law expert so I will only pose a question for those more knowledgeble.



    Canada and America have very similair cultures.

    So what is it in the differences of their respective courts that has America under a barrage of apparently frivolous law suits and Canada with relatively few?



    Or is there really a cultural difference?
  • Reply 18 of 34
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    [quote]Originally posted by groverat:

    <strong>



    And the case was subsequently thrown out... what's your point? Do you contend that people shouldn't be allowed to bring these cases forward? How is the system to determine what is valid and what is not if it doesn't hear the complaint?



    I am very curious where you get the idea that "abuse" and "defective" are the only acceptable legal criterion.</strong><hr></blockquote>





    Yawn. Post again without putting words in my mouth.
  • Reply 19 of 34
    alcimedesalcimedes Posts: 5,486member
    i guess the problem is how do you allow someone to sue as a method of justice, vs. allowing people to sue as a method of harassment/blackmail?
  • Reply 20 of 34
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    [quote]Originally posted by alcimedes:

    <strong>i guess the problem is how do you allow someone to sue as a method of justice, vs. allowing people to sue as a method of harassment/blackmail?</strong><hr></blockquote>



    Speed up the court process so an extended preface to a case can't take years virtually eliminating the possibility for small businesses or individuals to survive.



    You don't limit who and what can be brought to court. Ever lawsuit has its fair shot, and bad ones will and should be shot down. In the courts. Not in the headline of a Yahoo! news report.
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