Category Archives: Civilian’s Guide to Lawyers

Tag, You’re Not It: Notice by regular mail isn’t notice

The law confuses the general public and invites distrust, including assumptions that it relies on arbitrary technicalities to facilitate manipulation in favor of the connected, powerful, or wealthy.  People expect the law to use common sense and reach “right” conclusions.  … Continue reading

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Watching The Watchdog: State ethics committee member steals $3 million

We’ve noted before the frequency of problems with lawyers who deal with the elderly, or anyone who needs a guardian or has an estate that needs to be watched for them.  Older people often have substantial assets and may have … Continue reading

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DIY Criminal Law: Georgia replacing prisoners’ lawyers with legal database

Picking on unpopular groups, like prisoners, is how some politicians woo votes.   Before every election there is a race to panic the public about non-existent criminal epidemics as an excuse to jack up the sentences, take away judicial discretion, lock … Continue reading

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Psychic-Client Privilege: Lawyer-psychic doubles as psychic-lawyer

One reason why so many clients complain about their legal fees is that, unlike mechanics, plumbers, and doctors, the value of legal services can often be hard to see — it’s ephemeral.  Even the best legal work can look like … Continue reading

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Chumming The Waters: Florida Bar fights $100 charge to support legal aid

In a cartoon by Bob Mankoff, of The New Yorker, three fish consider whether the world is just:  The large fish thinks the world is just, the middle fish thinks there is some justice in the world, and the smallest … Continue reading

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Off The Record: Court reporters accused of billing for phantom pages

“Court reporters” are stenographers who take down, more or less verbatim, everything said “on the record” in court or a deposition, for example.  Some use a shorthand machine that prints out a sort of standard, but also personalized, code for … Continue reading

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Legal Locusts: Florida ADA posse makes big impression in New Jersey

Some lawyers handle all sorts of legal matters — whether it’s litigation or transactional work — but other lawyers like to do the same thing over and over.  In the extreme, the lawyer may actually find a niche where he … Continue reading

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Conflict Avoidance: Clients pushing back against advance, blanket waivers of unknown conflicts

Lawyers are not supposed to represent a potential client unless they can devote their full attention, and loyalty, to that client.  Their personal and professional interest must be consistent with the client’s interest, otherwise they may have a “conflict” of … Continue reading

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Everybody Does It (Wrong): Thousands of wrongs don’t make a right

One thing that tends to cripple respect for the law and legal system is judges who fail to elevate themselves above the petty flaws that everyone can spot.  At its worst, this behavior tends to stoke popular dissatisfaction, undoing all … Continue reading

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Sales Job: Reminding lawyers to appreciate their customers, er clients

Lawyers are professionals, or want special treatment as professionals, but at bottom most of them are just in the law business for the money.  Here is advice from someone who makes her living telling lawyers, especially contingent fee personal injury … Continue reading

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