Lawyers, Candle-stick Makers, etc.

“Legal disclaimer”: I have a lot of friends (well, a couple of  ’em at least!) who are lawyers; this is NOT aimed at them.


While sitting in front of the TV, I notice that there are a LOT of  “wrongful” – (death), (sickness), (accident), (injury) case offers that, if you call their number you most certainly will get a substantial settlement.  Asbestos, bad medicine, auto accident or whatever, there is almost always a lawyer out there who is willing to handle your case. I call them “ambulance chasers”.


The legal profession is divided into at least two factions – bad lawyers and worse lawyers. Actually, I guess a good division would be “corporate” lawyers who work primarily for one firm and handle their legal work – usually a lot of paperwork. If court action is resultant then they would do their best in representing “the company”.

Then there are the others who make a (good) living off of the general public, whether in civil or criminal action. First is the “free consultation”; usually 7 minutes  — and that is taken up in getting your address & billing information. After that, their time is worth (to them) about $1,000.00 per minute.

Like insurance and doctors, generally lawyers are good when/if you need one. First of all, if you have to go to court, unless you have a law degree, you don’t want to (mis) represent yourself. The legal profession is like a union; unless you use one of their kind, they will rip you to shreds! Combined with the fact that MOST judges are also lawyers – well, that should tell you something.

For that reason, when you have the option, choose a jury trial. At least some of the people on the jury will be able to ascertain the facts in an unbiased, impartial way.


Now, getting back to the “TV lawyers”, in my opinion they are the lowest of the group. They feed on your emotions, giving you hope that somehow they are going to get something for you (or your survivors).

Topping the list (or rather, at the bottom) are the “Class Action Suit” lawyers. They are the ones who send you a form in the mail, or by e-mail or in a TV ad, telling you that a suit is being filed by a “number of people” against (usually) a large firm or business. You are told that you might have been a customer of said store and that you may have money due you in this case. They invite you to be a part of the suit.

Sounds good, huh? Well, again, READ the fine print! In most cases it will reveal to you that, because there are so many who have been affected in this suit that you may not expect a large individual settlement. It will also tell you, if you have a large enough magnifying glass, that the (your)  attorneys will be paid first, then the leftover will be divided up among the complainants.

In an actual case, I had bought a printer made by HP. Embedded in the printer was a “chip” that monitored the ink levels. When you only had about 10% ink left, the printer would warn you, and some models “barked” at you until you replaced the cartridge with a (genuine) HP cart. A  class-action suit was filed. It was a shoo-in for the participants; you’ll get some money back because HP forced you to buy more ink when it  in fact wasn’t completely empty.

The class-action suit was won. When the long distribution form came in the mail, and after reading every word, it revealed that each consumer, upon request, would receive $1.26 (that’s right – a buck and a quarter). It also showed that the lawyers would receive no more than $100,000.00 each for their part in the case. “So say de judge; so shall it be”.

Oh, I still have and use that HP printer. I usually bark back at it.


And, finally, the words “Tort Reform” occasionally appear, especially in political campaigns. Tort may be defined as a personal injury; or as “a civil action other than a breach of contract.” A person who suffers a tortious injury is entitled to receive “damages”, usually monetary compensation, from the person or people responsible — or liable — for those injuries. Tort law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held liable for an injury they have caused.

Basically, “Tort Reform” is a proposal to limit just how much a party can receive as damages. As an example, if you own a fast food joint and a customer spills a cup of hot coffee in her lap after receiving it at the drive-thru window, she would not be able to receive a settlement of $12 MILLION dollars; a lesser, more reasonable amount would be limited by the court.

Remember, the lawyer gets a percentage of any settlement. For them, the higher the better! So, the legal profession is against tort reform.


In closing, at least for this part, stay out of court! If you must go, ask if you can bring a “service animal” with you, preferably a pet lioness. Then you will probably get a fair shake!



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