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 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 1
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Fairer lawyers...Page 1 of 3    (1, 2, 3)
I was thinking. The justice system is pretty unfair, because a better lawyer means you are far more likely to win a court case, and richer people can afford a better lawyer, so richer people win their court cases and poorer people get a worse deal when it comes to the courts.

So what if you could pick any lawyer you want, but only from the state attorneys? What if ALL court lawyers were employed by the state, and they were all paid from the state? Then lawyers would be paid the same, whether they represented rich companies or poor people. It would wipe out any advantage of better lawyers to work for the rich. So rich companies would find it much harder to make court cases unfairly in their interest.

Court costs could be charged on a means-tested basis. Poor people would pay less, rich companies would pay a lot more.

This is just an idea. But what do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Or do you have a better one?

Also, are there any other improvements to the justice system that you could think of?
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 2
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Posted: 7/29/2008 2:53:34 PM
^^^ There is such a system. It's the Jewish court system. I'm being biased here, but the system is that you have 3 judges, who are expert in law, and have a high moral standard. They hear both the plaintiff and the defendant. There is no plea system. The plaintiff states his problem. The judges then ask questions of both, get their own advice from experts, then they discuss all the relevant cases, and then they decide by majority. Technically, in more serious cases, or if the case cannot be decided, more judges can be added all the way to 71. The judges are the jury, and they are the lawyers, except that they are not there to represent the plaintiff or the defendant. They are there to use analytical skills, and scientific reasoning, to come to the correct conclusion.

There is one more advantage in this system: if at any point later on, it turns out that the judges decided against you due to negligence, you can take them to court, as they are personally responsible for their decisions and their negligence in such decisions.

But it requires a lot to get the people to accept such a system, and even more to get judges like that. In the Jewish faith, it takes a culture which is committed to integrity, to an unbelievably high moral standard (gossip is considered close to murder), and an incredible commitment to study (Jews are required to study Jewish Law all day and all night, basically all your free time). I cannot see most people getting there, and since Jewish Judges are the smartest, most knowledgeable, and with the highest integrity, I just cannot see what you will get in a Western society. But anything is possible.
 father3
Joined: 7/11/2006
Msg: 3
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Posted: 7/29/2008 8:05:32 PM
Methinks you've perhaps mistook a "legal system" for a "justice system".

True justice is unattainable.
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 4
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Posted: 7/30/2008 7:21:27 AM
Make all lawyers take 25 bucks an hour pay. A simple cap on their pay scale would suffice. A small bonus paid for their wins, and a small stipend paid to those lawyers who get cases where it is clear the defendant is going to lose. Example, those putting in a "guilty" plea.
Resources such as psychological and lab testing available to both sides, from independant agencies, therefore removing any bias.
As far as "tort law" where they take multiple cases against corporations, etc, put a cap of 10% rather than 30-35 % on their winnings.
Make corporate lawyers a thing of the past. Force corporations to hire lawyers on a case basis rather than keeping a group of them in office at all times.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 5
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Posted: 7/30/2008 10:35:36 AM
RE msg 15 by angelheart3:
I disagree with the perception that scorpio started the thread with the express intention of discussing the Jewish legal system. If one is to discuss equitably a fairer legal system, exploring alternative legal systems is certainly warranted discussion. JMHO.
I had no intention of discussing the Jewish legal system, as the Jewish legal system is fundamentally different to other legal systems, and is based in part of the behaviour and practices of Jews. You would need an entire revolution to make legal systems like the Jewish one, and I'm opposed to revolutions, because I believe that you just get a different system, but not a better one.

RE msg 7 by rune3: The main point I wanted to make, was that it is impractical to have doctors or probability theorists sit as judges, because they don't know the law. What is necessary is that they testify as expert witnesses. The problem with expert witnesses in our society is that they are brought into a case to testify on behalf of a lawyer, not a judge, and they are coached by those lawyers to only say what the lawyers want them to say.

It would also be impractical to expect such a system to work, because you cannot generate a group of judges to be motivated solely by the truth, unless you motivate the whole people to be motivated by the truth, as the judges come from the people, and our society is a society that is not forced to be motivated solely by the truth. It's just a very hard way to live, and it's a bit unfair to force it on people if they just want to be happy.

To answer your questions on the subject of Jewish Law:

Jews are required to know the law for practise. Jewish men are required to study the law for its own sake, even if they will never use it. They are not required to study legal arguments. They are required to study the different reasons that someone might be found guilty or innocent, such as if the person stole food to feed their starving family, if that is theft or is protection of people's right to live. They are also required to study what punishment is appropriate, such as if a fine would be due, or incarceration.

It very rarely makes a difference in the law whether you know it or not, because one's education and knowledge of the law is taken into account to understand their statements.

I hope that murder is regarded as being rather more serious than gossip!
It is. But have you ever heard the saying "the pen is mightier than the sword"? Me too.

I think that the system you describe sounds rather draconian -- is there compassion within this system too? Understanding for human nature? Is there transparency and fairness -- can anyone from any background, with any amount of money, become a judge? It is very interesting though, and I can see how it would work.
Yes, yes and yes.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 6
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Posted: 7/30/2008 8:53:02 PM

So what if you could pick any lawyer you want, but only from the state attorneys? What if ALL court lawyers were employed by the state, and they were all paid from the state?


Uh...so the judge, prosecution, and defense are all employed by the state. And the jury is chosen by the state. Something tells me that this is not a good idea.
 bigshrek
Joined: 11/15/2007
Msg: 8
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Posted: 7/31/2008 2:24:30 AM
At the bottom of it all, we still have way too many lawyers.

There's a reason people make jokes about 500 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean being a good start.
 yna6
Joined: 1/21/2007
Msg: 9
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Posted: 7/31/2008 7:28:08 AM
It seems only those who who are lawyers or directly connected to them object to a salary cap....guess anyone could have seen THAT one coming huh? LOL!

"Fairer lawyers"...hmmm...perhaps sme should be actually doing the job. Do we need "articling students" and such when we have data bases that can actually come up with the things we want, usually quicker and more efficiently?
Often, "the law is an azz". Perhaps juries should have the option of coming back with "not guilty" charges in some of these cases even if the person is guilty as h*ll.
A judge is just that...ONLY a judge. Sometimes they need to be reminded of that. They work for the taxpayer, and are hired to do their jobs...not put in their opinions, bow to political correctness, nor be influenced by the speech patterns of one lawyer over another.
Perhaps caps should be put on awards too. Say 2 million per person. Maximum award...plus fees, and such.
Lots of ways the law system could be tinkered with.
 desertrhino
Joined: 11/30/2007
Msg: 10
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Posted: 7/31/2008 4:24:29 PM
Don't forget that McNasty's had already been informed that their coffee was being served at dangerously high temperatures (180+ degrees Fahrenheit) multiple times, PAID 700 SIMILAR CLAIMS, refused to change their settings, and then refused to pay that poor woman's $20,000 in medical bills, when they served dangerously hot coffee with no cup tray (you know, those little 4-spot cardboard holders?) to a woman in a car.

She was awarded 2 days' coffee sales by the jury as punitive damages, 2.7 million dollars, reduced on appeal to 480,000 dollars. Here's a link: http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 11
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Posted: 7/31/2008 5:02:54 PM


At the bottom of it all, we still have way too many lawyers.

There's a reason people make jokes about 500 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean being a good start.


Most Congressmen are lawyers. Keep the above joke in mind next time you vote.
 rockondon
Joined: 2/21/2007
Msg: 13
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Posted: 8/2/2008 12:27:46 PM

and since Jewish Judges are the smartest, most knowledgeable, and with the highest integrity
Not exactly the most impartial thing I've read lately.
But anyway...

The advantage of having success in court doesn't entirely depend on the competence of the lawyer. If everyone has an equal lawyer, the rich can still hire a team to assist their lawyers for gathering evidence, questioning witnesses, doing research, etc, and will still have far greater success.

As for lawyers, their reputation isn't great but I consider them a product of a flawed legal system.
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 14
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Posted: 8/3/2008 12:06:52 PM
To have fairer lawyers you need a better system when you are not satisfied with what your lawyer did for you. You file a complaint with the bar and it goes nowhere, in Canada its the Upper Law Society. In all actuality, its there to protect the lawyers.

In a court case, with a jury. The judges job is to make sure that he proceedings follow exactly as the law permits. Thats all a judge does in these cases, the real judges are the jury. I have a lot of respect for the Judges, lawyers are scum. They use the language of the law to confuse you. So that you need them to decipher the legal language. I got my Black Law Legal Dictionary, and the meanings of the words in this book vary as to how they are use in the law.

For eg:

To apply for a drivers license or even a bank account, you may not realize what you are doing.

To apply, as we all believe is to put something forward as to apply this method for this job--to bottom line this, in law, and in certain ways, the word apply means to BEG!
To Submit, is not submitting giving up your rights.
To register is to enroll, become part of something.

So here we go, you Beg to give up your rights so that you can enroll. Think about that, because thats what it truly means.

You applied for a bank account, now with the legal meanings above, when you put your money in the bank, who actually owns it now.

In Canada there is no law that states I have to have a drivers license to drive a car, I need a drivers license if I am an AGENT of the government creating commerce, my Social Insurance Number is that standard of agency. If I resigned my SIN, I am no longer an agent for the government, therefore I am not taxed on income, freedom of movement allows me to move in any manner such as in a car, without penalty. Thats the law up here, how many of us know this. Is your lawyer telling you this. If he did, then if you gave up your SS or SIN no statue act can be enforced on you. A Statue Act is simply and Act that is given the force of law, if your an agent of the Government.

So you Applied (Begged) Submitted (gave up your rights) and registered (enrolled) as an agent for the government. Do Lawyers tell you that, no, they will not make the dough when you are charged with a statue act. Criminal means to create conflict with another. A statue act is an act that is there to control the agents of the Government. Did your lawyer tell you that.

The word ACT means--Something done or performed, esp, voluntarily, a deed also termed Action. ------Its Voluntary, which means giving consent. Either you do or you don't. When you applied for your SS or SIN number ( a registered employment number is what it is) you have volunteered. Did your lawyer tell you that. Therefore you must live up to Statue Acts. There not criminal law, they are social laws. Censorship is one of them, while in a free speech society, what censorship should there be. So what do we have, Criminal law and Contractual law, you submitted under contract to the government. Did a lawyer tell you that.

GW Bush is not the president of the United States, hes the president of the Corporation of the United States, Harper is not the Prime Minister of Canada, hes the Prime Minister of the Corporation of Canada, two distinctly different things. Its called Admiralty Law and is the law of the sea not the law of the land, Canada and the US are still Common law Jurisdictions, therefore your a natural on the land freewilled Man, not a citizen of a corporation. Did your Lawyer tell you that.

If you gave up your SS or SIN numbers you are not subject to Corporate Statue Acts, you are not an agent or member of the Corporation. Did you Lawyer tell you that, no, because if he did, what need would you have for him unless you committed a criminal conflict with another person. They make there money by keeping us in the dark. Just live up to your contracts and pay no income taxes, 1895 supreme court of the US stated that wages are not considered commerce and are not taxed, you get money for your efforts a fair exchange there is no profit. Does your Lawyer tell you that. They know, the problem is we don't.

Get your legal dictionary and study Common Law. Go to Thinkfree.ca and watch the video the Magnificent Deception, its an eye opener.
 pappy009
Joined: 2/3/2008
Msg: 16
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Posted: 8/6/2008 5:07:54 PM
--- But I assure you, as to U.S. law, courts, and lawyers, you know nothing.---

Then look up a Satue Law as compared to a Criminal Law. Look up what a SS number really represents. Canada and the US pretty well use the same legal dictionary. I will agree, when it come to certain forms of law that there is a huge difference between the US and Parlimentary British rule or Law. I will agree that the US legal system is the best!!!...Absoultly...unless the lower courts do not follow the supreme courts and they don't.

The US federal law states on Income tax that its voluntary.....if you file a federal income tax...then you must file a state income tax. Check it out, find the law that states you MUST pay income tax. You will find nothing....in Canada they use a bit of of twist, they state that Every PERSON must file an income tax......since a corporation has the same rights as a person then what is a PERSON......find the diffenition for that, then follow it through to the corporate angle. A person with a name, is the same as a corporation with a name. With the corporation the name represents an entity, its a fiction created by your government.....why.....in a free society you can call yourself what ever you like, the name you have was GIVEN to you, the easiest thing to change is your name. Why?

I will answer that for you, because it was given to you by your parents, while they had Power of Attorney over you. That name represents a strawman without a brain, its really not you. Its a fiction that the government needs to know who you are. In a free society, with free speach, why does the government need to know you.....why? Its not there business, there business is to protect the civilians, gurantee privacy.

Do you not have a Representative Government? Does that give them the right to control, monitor, easedrop or trace every movement you can make, which they do with technology.

Pick up a dollar bill and see if you got the word MONEY Exchangable for Gold ( as it use to say prior 1913) on it. No its a debt note. When you go to the reasturant, you get a Bill, what do you call a $10.... a BILL. A $10 bill. A Bill is a debt. Why is it a debt. Because the country that issues BILLS are in solvency.......do your research.

Blacks Dictionary.....

Bill
1-A formal written complaint, Such as a court paper requesting some specific action for reasons alleged.
2-An equitable PLEADING by which a claim and brings a claimant brings into to a court of equity......(major piont, signifies a debt)...Before the merger of law and equity,the bill in equity was analogous to a declaration in law. The nine parts of every equitable bill are--
1...The address of the person holding the great seal...
2...The introduction to identify the parties.
3...The premise that states the complantives case..
4...The confederating part, in which the DEFENDANTS are charged with combination...
5...The charging part, in which the plaintiff may try to overcome defences that the defendants may allege..
6...the jurisdicitional clause showing the court has jurisdiction...
7...The interrogating part inserted to try to compel a full and complete answer.
8...The prayer for relief and...
9...The prayer for process to compel the defendants to appear and answer.
Also termed...BILL IN EQUITY...
See Declaration 7.....also claimed bill in Chancery....Bill of Chancery....Bill of Equity....Bill for forclosure....

As you can see the real reality of a Bill is a debt, so when you government introduces a Bill what do you think it is, and how many new Bills that have been created that DOSEN"T cost you money Excuse me Debt. Thats what a Bill is. I may not know a lot about American law, but I do Understand what they are saying.

If you check out Executive Order 11110 signed June 11/63, you will find that Kennedy, signed an Order to establish a currency that is backed by Silver. Then he got shot. Check it out. This would have done away with DEBT. The US Treasury would have issued Greenbacks like Lincoln did, and sell it to the Banks at no interest (income taxes). Oh Yea Lincoln was shot too. If the Banks are not charged Interest (income taxes) then you do not pay income taxes. And under your constitution INCOME TAXES are illegal because it is not a uniform tax like a sales tax. It decided upon by your income, yet in 1895 supreme court ruling that Earnings do not constitute PROFIT for taxation. Its a fair exchange. So now you got to look at COMMERCE, seeing that the Bill of Exchange is universal, 'Uncitral" (international trade laws created by the ancient Roman Empire or the Vatican) all Bills of Exchange must be the same in every country or you do not do TRADE. Income tax is what you pay on Interest from borrowed money which is credit and not money at all. Look up what money really is, a commodity like gold, silver and so on. A substance. Our money has no substance so its subject to inflation.

Commerce

This is where you buy something and sell it for a profit, seeing that you make a profit on commerce you are taxed. like Corporations are. You are not a corporation, you are not a person, you are a free natural Human Being under G-d as your constitution claims, Under God we Trust, so unless your government get a written note from G_d. Then you are above a Corporation. G-d, Mankind, Country......Thats the gyst.

Like I said, I may not know alot about American Law but I do understand the Law. Even Lawyers out of College do not understand the complete idea, after all, they never created it, they simply learned what the educational system wants them to learn. Good Lawyers do, they cost big bucks, but those who are looking for a good living no matter if they win or lose, Don't. That is one thing that I have learned over the yrs.

Yea, I guess I don't know that much.
 transcend
Joined: 1/13/2007
Msg: 18
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Posted: 8/14/2008 6:37:06 AM
"the problem is not lawyers, its that lawyers are the ones making laws , rendering the whole process understandable only with the help of, you guessed it, lawyers."

Deciding to place on paper rules that govern us, defining right and wrong across all lines ,disregarding situational variations making it impossible for the average person to be treated fairly when the opponent has more resources and less of a need for redress, complicates the simplistic idea that lawyers are not needed.
It isnt the system thats at fault , its the practice of greed overwhelming better judgement as the opportunity to make someone pay ends up making all of us pay in distrusting the only system that offers any hope to the multitudes that can't live without it. We all know that some people are a$$es, greedy beyond reason. The fact that some of those people are doctors or lawyers or politicians shouldn't surprise anyone. I would hope that pointing out the most obvious of these societal parasites , be it a politician like John Edwards ( over 20 million made on cerebral palsy law suits that juries mishandled), a Stan Chesley that screws both corporations(sometimes bankrupting them) and class action clients (diluting awards down to small potatos for each victim)or an anonymous MD that screws Medicare out of dollars that should go into senior health care..
it isnt just fairer lawyers..its having honest people in the positions of trust
 GGarbo
Joined: 10/8/2007
Msg: 19
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Posted: 10/29/2008 4:20:17 AM
I'm a former legal secretary. We used to do both legal aid and general practice cases.

I have to say that when people have a free lawyer they abuse it. Those who are paying tended to stick to the serious issues, those who came with legal aid would fight over dollar store salt and pepper shakers. Those eligible for legal aid also used lawyers a lot more slapping restraining orders on people when upset but then letting them break them two days later wasting the lawyer and the courts time.

That being said, I have a high priced lawyer now who is unethical. It's been a complete nightmare. I'm not a greedy person and I had settled an issue aimacably with another party. I went to him only to get the finalized paperwork done but he re-opened negotiations by downplaying how much it would cost and how long it would take to take care of a simple issue that was more of a precaution than anything. He completely misled me and smacked me with a bill that was 8 times his quote. The issue that was a done deal has now dragged on for 2 months costing me and the other party a small fortune.

I'm now just waiting for the deal to get done to bring him up on ethics charges and maybe take him to court to get some of my money back.

He is a pricey lawyer so my experience has been it's actually those who are willing to take on the poor folks who are probably more honest and ethical.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 20
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Posted: 10/29/2008 5:24:22 AM
RE msg 40 by pappy009:
The US federal law states on Income tax that its voluntary.....
I think you will find that the 1895 ruling was that taxes on income on property are so close to taxes on property, that they must be apportioned, and so it would be only applicable to those people whose entire income comes from property, and don't have a regular job.

But even without this, there are three simple facts:
1) The government needs money from its citizens in order to function and provide services.
1) The government can take taxes from all of its citizens.
2) The services provided by the government, such as roads, are still only entitled to be used by citizens of that country.

If you eliminate income tax, then the government will simply apply a poll tax, an equal tax on every one of its citizens. Considering that 80% of income is in the hands of 5% of the population, then right now, the 95% of people who only pay 20%, pay only 20/95 of the total budget, and that means that in a system that is based on population and not on income, each person would pay 20/95*100 of the budget, about 21 times as much as they do now, per person.

I believe that is a horrifically high tax, and I believe that most non-rich people would not be able to afford that. However, since the government could not resort to income tax, they would have to take their possessions, and that would leave maybe 50% of the country broke, and 45% with nothing more than the clothes on their back, with the other 5% richer than Midas.

Of course, they could all secede from the government. But then they are not entitled to any usage of government services. They cannot use a hospital. They cannot use the courts if they are mugged, assualted or raped. They cannot drive on the roads. They cannot walk on the pavements. They cannot walk in the parks. They can be in any private building, and move from private building to private building, via private roads. But since nearly every private area is surrounded by roads and pavements that are built and maintained by the government, that would make it nearly impossible to walk anywhere. It would certainly make driving impossible. In addition, the government could choose to pass a bill stating that anyone may not carry anyone in their hands, or by car, or van, or other vehicle on the roads, who wilfully secedes from the government. That would make it impossible for you to get around.

If the government wants, it can make your life impossible to live, without it, because all of our infrastructure relies on it. The government is like the towns of the old Wild West. You may hate the towns, but you need what they provide. That is why your best bet to escape the government is the Wilderness. It's the only place where you are not dependent on the government. But can YOU live there, with no electricity, no running water, no sewage, no roads, no cars, just you and Grizzly Adams? That is the question, and one that 99% of the world doesn't want to do. There are people who live in the Wilderness, such as the people who live in the Amazon. 99% struggle to survive.
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 21
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Posted: 8/4/2010 12:10:49 PM
So, I'm bumping / resurrecting this thread, both out of personal interest, and in response to an accusation (mea culpa) of threadjacking onto this topic on the thread about the BP oil spill.

I'm interested in hearing opinions, experiences, rants and raves, even lawyer jokes-- provided they are NEW ones that I haven't heard yet.

A few random thoughts:

1. It has actually been my experience that there is no stable or consistent relationship between the talent and hard work put into a case by a lawyer, and the hourly rate or the total bill the client gets hit with.

I've seen $700.00 an hour lawyers whose performance did not impress me, and $100.00 an hour articling students who were devastatingly effective.

The consistent elements I do notice? Older lawyers charge more. Lawyers from larger firms charge more. Hourly rates rise during a good economy and rarely drop in a bad one.

And more than anything else, it is the behaviour of both sides in the case and what they choose to do and not do, that has the biggest impact on the final bill.

And customers need to shop much harder and make much more careful decisions on issues where such significant amounts are involved, and take a much less emotion-driven approach emphasizing their long term financial best interests.

Very few take what seems to me to be the obvious approach in choosing a good lawyer in a particular area: paying a lawyer for one hour of their time to locate the best lawyer for them, in the field they have a case in.

2. No one is going to assign me any credibility on the subject of limits on lawyers' compensation because obviously I've got a conflict-of-interest on the question, but here goes, anyhow.

(a) The economics of legal billing are quite different from the economics of most other services, because often the customers are not really in an adequate position to be able to tell whether they are being well-served or not.

The natural reflex is to look at outcomes and assume that if you won, you got value for money, and if you lost, you did not.

But this is not necessarily true. You may have had a case so poor that you were going to lose anyhow, it was just a matter of how badly. You may have had a case so good that Lionel Hutz could win it.

And you can win, or lose, for reasons that have nothing to do with the talent or work of the lawyer. Witnesses can be good, bad, believable or not credible. Crucial documents can be lost or found unexpectedly and ten thousand different details can influence outcomes decisively.

(b) I do not think having lawyers charge less by the hour would improve the operation of the system.

People would just consume MORE services, leading to longer and longer delays to get anything resolved and legal fights over more and more things, including things of trivial value. People who get legal aid often abuse it because it costs them little or nothing.

If anything, high hourly rates for many attorneys serve a useful function of limiting access to the system, by forcing people to litigate only the things that are important enough to justify the cost.

(c) If anything, the supply of lawyers should be limited, by more intensive barriers to entry in the profession, the enforcement of higher academic and ethical standards for entry, and longer terms of articling. Law schools in particular need to be reformed to require much heavier emphasis on the skills actually used in practice, and the notion that someone should be let loose on the general public with nothing more than a 3 year law degree and a passing grade on a bar exam really ought to be re-examined.

(d) A lot more pressure brought on litigants to settle cases early on would be useful-- especially by having settlement conferences presided by Judges who have the inherent credibility to bring litigants down to Earth in terms of their expectations.
 sarniafairyboy
Joined: 6/19/2010
Msg: 22
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Posted: 8/4/2010 1:03:20 PM

I was thinking. The justice system is pretty unfair, because a better lawyer means you are far more likely to win a court case, and richer people can afford a better lawyer, so richer people win their court cases and poorer people get a worse deal when it comes to the courts.

So what if you could pick any lawyer you want, but only from the state attorneys? What if ALL court lawyers were employed by the state, and they were all paid from the state? Then lawyers would be paid the same, whether they represented rich companies or poor people. It would wipe out any advantage of better lawyers to work for the rich. So rich companies would find it much harder to make court cases unfairly in their interest.

Court costs could be charged on a means-tested basis. Poor people would pay less, rich companies would pay a lot more.

This is just an idea. But what do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Or do you have a better one?

Also, are there any other improvements to the justice system that you could think of?


err, how does that work with medical, the NHS in the UK ?

don't many of the best doctors simply leave and move to the USA where their income can be much higher?

since we also have socialized/state controlled medical system in Canada it does happen here to a certain extent.

I could see our marginal income tax rate going up to about 75% .. or so

how could that help the masses?

remember the bad old 60's and 70's when top marginal tax rates in UK were around 90% even 95% ? most top bands (Beatles, Rolling Stones) etc. were forced to leave & domicile elsewhere with less punitive tax rates

they were also very high in USA, it just motivated the best & brightest to LEAVE and go elsewhere, and/or CHEAT a lot more on taxes.

so poor working stiffs will slave away to pay lawyers fat salaries (as we do now for doctors) -at least without subsidized 'legal' help people don't die as they could re: medical.

the situation inspired the Beatles to write this song:

"Let me tell you how it will be;
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

(if you drive a car, car;) - I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) - I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) - I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) - I'll tax your feet.

Taxman!

'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Don't ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister heath)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

And you're working for no one but me.

Taxman! "
 sarniafairyboy
Joined: 6/19/2010
Msg: 23
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/4/2010 1:09:47 PM

I was thinking. The justice system is pretty unfair, because a better lawyer means you are far more likely to win a court case, and richer people can afford a better lawyer, so richer people win their court cases and poorer people get a worse deal when it comes to the courts.

So what if you could pick any lawyer you want, but only from the state attorneys? What if ALL court lawyers were employed by the state, and they were all paid from the state? Then lawyers would be paid the same, whether they represented rich companies or poor people. It would wipe out any advantage of better lawyers to work for the rich. So rich companies would find it much harder to make court cases unfairly in their interest.

Court costs could be charged on a means-tested basis. Poor people would pay less, rich companies would pay a lot more.

This is just an idea. But what do you think? Do you think this is a good idea? Or do you have a better one?

Also, are there any other improvements to the justice system that you could think of?


err, how does that work with medical, the NHS in the UK ?

don't many of the best doctors simply leave and move to the USA where their income can be much higher?

since we also have socialized/state controlled medical system in Canada it does happen here to a certain extent.

I could see our marginal income tax rate going up to about 75% .. or so

how could that help the masses?

remember the bad old 60's and 70's when top marginal tax rates in UK were around 90% even 95% ? most top bands (Beatles, Rolling Stones) etc. were forced to leave & domicile elsewhere with less punitive tax rates

they were also very high in USA, it just motivated the best & brightest to LEAVE and go elsewhere, and/or CHEAT a lot more on taxes.

so poor working stiffs will slave away to pay lawyers fat salaries (as we do now for doctors) -at least without subsidized 'legal' help people don't die as they could re: medical.

the situation inspired the Beatles to write this song:

"Let me tell you how it will be;
There's one for you, nineteen for me.
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Should five per cent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all.
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

(if you drive a car, car;) - I’ll tax the street;
(if you try to sit, sit;) - I’ll tax your seat;
(if you get too cold, cold;) - I’ll tax the heat;
(if you take a walk, walk;) - I'll tax your feet.

Taxman!

'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Don't ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
If you don't want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister heath)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
'Cause I’m the taxman,
Yeah, I’m the taxman.

And you're working for no one but me.

Taxman! "


1. It has actually been my experience that there is no stable or consistent relationship between the talent and hard work put into a case by a lawyer, and the hourly rate or the total bill the client gets hit with.

I've seen $700.00 an hour lawyers whose performance did not impress me, and $100.00 an hour articling students who were devastatingly effective.

The consistent elements I do notice? Older lawyers charge more. Lawyers from larger firms charge more. Hourly rates rise during a good economy and rarely drop in a bad one.


LOL, famed lawyer Eddie Greenspan , who I'm guessing probably bills$ 1,000 an hour or so, or at least at the very high end of things, was seen on camera SLEEPING at the counsel table during Conrad Black's trial in Chicago--I mean, actually ripping ZZz's , snoring..

pretty good pay rate, to SLEEP....haha.. how effective was he as Conrad's counsel? well even with his high-priced legal team Ol' Connie was still convicted -maybe of LESS than he could have been?
 sarniafairyboy
Joined: 6/19/2010
Msg: 24
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/4/2010 1:17:42 PM

(c) If anything, the supply of lawyers should be limited, by more intensive barriers to entry in the profession, the enforcement of higher academic and ethical standards for entry, and longer terms of articling. Law schools in particular need to be reformed to require much heavier emphasis on the skills actually used in practice, and the notion that someone should be let loose on the general public with nothing more than a 3 year law degree and a passing grade on a bar exam really ought to be re-examined.

(d) A lot more pressure brought on litigants to settle cases early on would be useful-- especially by having settlement conferences presided by Judges who have the inherent credibility to bring litigants down to Earth in terms of their expectations.


re (c) :err, your analysis is sharply different from that of many legal scholars in Canada who say we already have too small a supply of lawyers, less competition is why hourly rates have been increasing so much.

Canada with a population of over 30 million has I think 12 law schools or something about there, while Australia with a much smaller population has about double that number, 25 or so. Canada has not opened a new law school in about 30 years even though the population has obviously increased quite a bit in that time

re: (d) much of the stuff that ends up in court is irrational (esp. in family court or cases involving wills, inheritances, etc.)
sometimes people are fighting just for the sake of fighting, economics doesn't enter into it, it's more like feelings of "mommy loved you more than me, I remember that time 35 years ago when she...."

these are people that lawyers love I am sure, they don't care if they spend 10 X as much in fees as the case may be worth.

many "Cases" could be better resolved with a psychologist/psychiatrist or family counselor, than with a judge in a court room
 sarniafairyboy
Joined: 6/19/2010
Msg: 25
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/4/2010 1:42:12 PM

Being an attorney for over 37 years I can assure you that representing yourself (as the old adage suggests) leaves you in unenviable position of having a fool for a client not because you're a bad person or because you're not smart, but because you don't know the substantive and procedural law. Being good and/or smart isn't the measure of winning or losing. It's convincing the court that the law (given the facts of the case) favors your side. Representing yourself (and I don't care how smart you are) is a disaster. Remember that high powered Hollywood private eye that represented himself? Very smart. He was found guilty on all counts. And he could AFFORD to pay a good lawyer.


err, I'm assuming you claim that no-one who has ever hired a lawyer has been convicted? or convicted n all counts? not sure there's a correlation -I seem to recall quite a few people with lawyers who were convicted and/or entered a guilty plea(s).

Conrad Black had a 'dream team' of high priced lawyers & he was still convicted . If the case against a person is bad enough they can''t work 'magic' I don't think. The anecdote you mention is hardly scientific/proof -- the same guy could have well been convicted on all counts if he had a lawyer(s).

You mention cleaning up other people's meses, perhaps that is true in criminal law, at least most of the time. What about civil law? lawyers may ENCOURAGE people to go to court & sue -get money, also the lawyer may win big, everyone' s all happy eh?

especially in family/divorce law & dealing with estates, people may be encouraged to sue & to fight for irrational reasons -emotions, etc.

Lawyers must be happy that many people can be childish & petty & fight to the 'death' over very little, cranking out the fees as they go. Sometimes that can be only one person's fault/drive (the plaintiff) & poor defendant is forced into court to play games

Lawyers LIKE fighting & conflict, it pays the bills :) need peopel to start suits, to fight with

as the old saying goes if you're the only doctor in a small town you'll do well ; if you're the only lawyer you'll starve -no other lawyer to take on cases and start fights so people have to hire you.
 Ubiquitous.
Joined: 11/7/2009
Msg: 26
view profile
History
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/4/2010 11:34:26 PM
Fantastic thought, but several problems arise.

1) Everyone would want the #1 best lawyer for the type of case they have (personal injury, medical malpractice, patent, etc) but this obviously could not be done. There'd be so much demand for the #1 lawyers that there couldn't be a "line" so-to-speak, because it would push court dates back decades.

2) I can't imagine there would be much incentive for lawyers to be at the top of their game. Concerning the above problem, the solution would likely be to prohibit detailed record-keeping from public view (similar to the current US laws prohibiting the publishing of doctor procedure success rate statistics). If this is the case, then there would be significantly less incentive for lawyers to work hard. This would likely clog the court system further than it already is. So instead of taking 7 years for a significant class-action law suit to be heard, it would take a decade or more.

3) There would be a massive conflict of interest in a huge number of cases. In many - if not most - cases, the state puts forth a prosecutor, who is a state employee and whose paycheck is paid for by the state's ability to tax its citizens' wealth. Under the proposed system, the defendant's lawyer would also be a state employee whose paycehck is paid for by the state's ability to tax its citizens' wealth. This is a serious conflict of interest. Remember, state's are just orginzations of people (like companies). The difference is they rely on violence to achieve their ends (police, jails). Separating defense from the state is one of our legal system's few shining lights in my opinion.

4) Possibly the most important critique is that this system would not stop direct compensation of lawyers. Remember, laws are not magic. They are just black ink on pieces of paper, "enforced" (to the extent it's possible to do so) by men in costumes with guns. Even if laws are passed that make it illegal for lawyers to accept any form of payment or gift from someone they represent, the real-world fact is that it would still occur. What does that mean? It means only those individuals, those companies, and those lawyers who are most willing to undermine the law and most successful at subverting it will be the ones who tend to dominate in the justice system. The rich will find a way to directly pay the best lawyers to make sure they represent them and do a damn good job. The normal, law-abiding citizen would be at a terrible disadvantage, greater in my opinion than the one posed by a price system. (This is one of the reasons I am against laws banning corporate political donations -- under-the-table corporate donations would still occur on large scale, but only corrupted politicians would have the advantage of large contributions and only companies willing to break the law would be represented).
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 27
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/6/2010 9:20:42 AM
@ Sarniafairyboy.

On (c): Which legal scholars are you talking about, specifically, and which articles are you referring to? I'd be interested to see those analyses.

My personal position on this is in part driven by my own experiences and information about the market I actually work in.

The graduating cohorts of the Bar school are having great difficulty in being retained or getting jobs at all, yet hourly rates are staying stagnant-- or not declining, as a logic of increased competition would suggest.

And you cannot infer anything, really, from the number of law schools. It is the number of students who graduate, and the number who remain in the profession that matter. If you really want a comparison, look at the U.S. and you see the debacle that oversupply of lawyers generates.

More lawyers generate more litigation. Compare Canada and the U.S. on this point.

On (d): You are entirely right that a lot of it is "irrational", at least in the sense of "financially irrational". Wills & Estates litigation is often particularly bitter-- I've seen plenty of that.

But that is why the economics actually IS so important.

At the end of the day, all the cases come down to three things: (a) results, (b) time, (c) cost. Often it is (c) that eventually forces even the most irrational and pig-headed to negotiate a resolution.

The cases that devolve into self-representation can just lead to endless wars that go nowhere because these are individuals that cannot or will not accept anything other than a total endorsement of their position, however senseless or implausible. Eventually they wind up with vexatious litigant orders that bar them from filing further proceedings, then they resort to stupid behaviour like picketing the Court house with signs proclaiming their personal sense of affront, or dressing up in superhero costumes and climbing onto bridges.

And this is one lawyer who heartily dislikes the kind of client that's financially irrational. We spend hours trying to talk senselessly belligerent people into trying to pay attention to their long-term financial interests and not spend $20 to fight over $10. The Judges spent plenty of time doing that too.

Trust me, if their disputes could be resolved with shrinks or counselors, those people would not be in Court.
 slybandit
Joined: 7/10/2006
Msg: 28
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/6/2010 9:33:06 AM
@ Ubiquitous:

On 1): It's actually quite difficult to tell who the #1 lawyer would be for a particular case. There are all kinds of different measures. And a very limited amount of a top lawyer's time can be worth a LOT less than full attention from someone mid-range who will actually WORK on the case.

And you're assuming that the lawyers do not get to refuse cases.

Actually, the problem that you are pointing to ALREADY exists in the Court system. People who do not litigate may not be aware of this, but a LOT of the delay is due to scheduling conflicts. Lawyers with heavier caseloads and more clients are less available, so scheduling dates with them leads to futher delays. Try being on a case with five lawyers, several of whom have heavy caseloads-- just scheduling is a puzzle in itself.

On 2): That prohibition would be impossible, because it conflicts with the principle of public access to the Courts. Judgments are published, online in many cases, and easily accessible. If you know a lawyer's name and the region he or she litigates in, you can consult results of their work.

On 3): Sorry, but the argument does not make sense. Legal aid defence counsel, also paid by the state, probably do the majority of criminal defense work. Moreover, the Judges, who are supposedly impartial, are also paid state employees, but no one says there is an inherent conflict of interest in that.

Conflicts of interest are very much attenuated when you are talking about large institutions anyhow.

On 4): You are entirely correct on this point. In fact, this is actually the reason why for-fee lawyers exist.

In the original legal system for our purposes, that of the Ancient Roman Republic, the original advocates were forbidden from taking fees to do what they did.

They were all upper-class and wealthy to start with, and it was a form of public service that they did out of patriotism, personal pride and showing off (in essence). Money crept into it exactly the way you are describing.
 scorpiomover
Joined: 4/19/2007
Msg: 29
view profile
History
Fairer lawyers...
Posted: 8/6/2010 11:06:45 AM
RE Msg: 53 by Ubiquitous.:
4) Possibly the most important critique is that this system would not stop direct compensation of lawyers. Remember, laws are not magic. They are just black ink on pieces of paper, "enforced" (to the extent it's possible to do so) by men in costumes with guns. Even if laws are passed that make it illegal for lawyers to accept any form of payment or gift from someone they represent, the real-world fact is that it would still occur. What does that mean? It means only those individuals, those companies, and those lawyers who are most willing to undermine the law and most successful at subverting it will be the ones who tend to dominate in the justice system. The rich will find a way to directly pay the best lawyers to make sure they represent them and do a damn good job. The normal, law-abiding citizen would be at a terrible disadvantage, greater in my opinion than the one posed by a price system. (This is one of the reasons I am against laws banning corporate political donations -- under-the-table corporate donations would still occur on large scale, but only corrupted politicians would have the advantage of large contributions and only companies willing to break the law would be represented).

RE Msg: 55 by slybandit:
On 4): You are entirely correct on this point. In fact, this is actually the reason why for-fee lawyers exist.

In the original legal system for our purposes, that of the Ancient Roman Republic, the original advocates were forbidden from taking fees to do what they did.

They were all upper-class and wealthy to start with, and it was a form of public service that they did out of patriotism, personal pride and showing off (in essence). Money crept into it exactly the way you are describing.
I hope this is not the case.

The issue of monetary bribes to lawyers, has only been resolved, by having a lawyer for each litigant, and letting a judge of the law oversee the proceedings, who knows the law and general conduct of the courts, and who will keep them from overstepping the bounds. Without that, any lawyer could argue anything in court to a jury, and a jury would just devolve into who can use the most effective psychological manipulation on the jury, even if their evidence is completely fabricated.

We only can rely on judges, because they are paid by the state, not by litigants or other interested parties.

But Ubiquitous' argument is applicable just as much to judges as to lawyers.

So if Ubiquitous' argument is valid, then we can trust judges to be impartial no more than lawyers, which means they cannot be trusted to be impartial, which means that every court case ever sat in North America or anywhere else in the West, is totally biased, and a mistrial. We could re-do all those cases. But the problem is, that without judges, lawyers cannot be used without being abused, and so, we are left with no justice system at all.

So if he is right, then there can be no justice using Western systems of justice, not as far as I can see.

So I'm a bit perturbed at his argument, and at slybandit's agreement, as that suggests that there can never be justice in Western society.
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