f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

September 17, 2003

We’re Over-lawyered and Under-Informed

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 10:00 pm

Walter Olson at Overlawyered.com put the spotlight today on an article from Smart Money

entitled 10 Things Your Lawyer Won’t Tell You (by Brigid McMenamin, Sept. 15, 2003).  As Walter notes:


“You may be shocked to find how little you’ll net from the proceeds of your lawsuit, how little experience your lawyer has, or how hard it is to proceed against him later if you think he has wronged you.”

There’s no satisfactory answer to his plaintive question: “Where are the consumer protectionists demanding advance disclosure?”  We point some fingers at the culprits and at some solutions, on our Informing Consumers resource page — which W.O. was kind enough to mention in his posting. 



  • I’m no apologist for the legal profession (as I think you well know), but some of the Smart Money complaints are actually cheapshots — e.g., the ABA can and does promulgate model rules and ethical opinions, but it has no direct authority over lawyer conduct.  It’s a bit unfair, therefore, to suggest that the Association is somehow ducking an issue by leaving it up to the individual states to ban or allow a practice — especially, on an issue, like sex with clients, in which the ABA has in fact called for a total ban (which we oppose).   Also, how significant is the fact that “Nearly 20 percent of attorneys surveyed nationwide by the University of Memphis in 1993 admitted they or a lawyer they knew had had an affair with a client”?   Nevertheless, the article’s overall focus is correct: clients and prospective clients deserve a lot more information, should be asking more questions, and choosing lawyers who willingly share all important information.  See this article for some examples. 

Special Hiatus P.S. (09/24/09): Congratulations to Overlawyered.com‘s founder/editor, Walter Olson, who was awarded the annual Individual Achievement Award by the Legal Reform Summit, in Washington, D.C. today. Well-deserved, W.O.!!

haikuEsq ponders Isabel

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:22 pm

haikuEsq has been thinking about the weather today.

 

banging away at a nail

trying to stop

the hurricane

            [David Gershator, VI, from Haiku World, by Wm. J. Higginson]

 


they call it

a driving rain, but

        we better not drive

                 [haikuEsq]

 


fickle Isabel,

don’t hurt my

old, new, cyber friends

           [haikuEsq]

 

 


batteries, beans, lightning flash

. . . did the children see

       the fear in my eyes?

            [haikuEsq]

 

        A fractured rainbow

Is straining under thunderbolt clouds with

        Cathedral quiet.

                    [James Kirkup, in Haiku: The Poetry of Zen, ed. Manuela Dunn]

 

be safe, feel safe,

no need to post tonight

— priorities

           [haikuEsq]

When Is Donation Solicitation?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:29 am


Overlawyered.com raises important issues in its Sept. 15 posting on the connection between clergy-abuse survivor groups and plaintiffs’ lawyers who represent abuse victims.    According to the featured Forbes article plaintiffs’ attorneys are among the biggest contributors to some survivor groups, while other groups — e.g., Survivors First in Boston — refuse to take such contributions.  (Paid to Picket, by Daniel Lyons, 09.15.03; free regis. req’d) Forbes notes a strong difference of opinion between two prominent lawyers for clergy-abuse victims:



“The symbiotic alliance makes Mitchell Garabedian squeamish. The lawyer last year negotiated a $10 million settlement for 86 plaintiffs in Boston, but he won’t give money to advocate groups because he believes the practice violates legal ethics guidelines. “It’s sort of a solicitation,” he says.

“Hogwash, say [Stockton, CA’s] Anderson, Drivon and Morey. “It’s not a solicitation. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a case from SNAP [Survivors Network Abused by Priests],” Drivon says.”


This Editor agrees with Mr. Garabedian that such donations have at least the appearance of  impropriety.   A donation given with an understanding, or in anticipation, that clients will be referred to a firm looks an awful lot like solicitation.   And, donations given under pressure from a victims’ group — in order to prevent being blackballed or to assure consideration for referrals (or other forms of assistance and cooperation) — also put the law firm into unholy ethical territority.   The aura of impropriety that surrounds such donations should be a good enough reason for lawyers to beg off when asked to contribute to the survivor groups.  A little self-imposed discipline, stifling the urge to  contribute or to ask for such contributions, would go a long way towards instilling faith in the legal proceedings that surround the clergy-abuse scandals. 

When Is Donation Solicitation?

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:29 am


Overlawyered.com raises important issues in its Sept. 15 posting on the connection between clergy-abuse survivor groups and plaintiffs’ lawyers who represent abuse victims.    According to the featured Forbes article plaintiffs’ attorneys are among the biggest contributors to some survivor groups, while other groups — e.g., Survivors First in Boston — refuse to take such contributions.  (Paid to Picket, by Daniel Lyons, 09.15.03; free regis. req’d) Forbes notes a strong difference of opinion between two prominent lawyers for clergy-abuse victims:



“The symbiotic alliance makes Mitchell Garabedian squeamish. The lawyer last year negotiated a $10 million settlement for 86 plaintiffs in Boston, but he won’t give money to advocate groups because he believes the practice violates legal ethics guidelines. “It’s sort of a solicitation,” he says.

“Hogwash, say [Stockton, CA’s] Anderson, Drivon and Morey. “It’s not a solicitation. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a case from SNAP [Survivors Network Abused by Priests],” Drivon says.”


This Editor agrees with Mr. Garabedian that such donations have at least the appearance of  impropriety.   A donation given with an understanding, or in anticipation, that clients will be referred to a firm looks an awful lot like solicitation.   And, donations given under pressure from a victims’ group — in order to prevent being blackballed or to assure consideration for referrals (or other forms of assistance and cooperation) — also put the law firm into unholy ethical territority.   The aura of impropriety that surrounds such donations should be a good enough reason for lawyers to beg off when asked to contribute to the survivor groups.  A little self-imposed discipline, stifling the urge to  contribute or to ask for such contributions, would go a long way towards instilling faith in the legal proceedings that surround the clergy-abuse scandals. 

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