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.!!

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