Monday, February 28, 2011

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

By Shane Cashion

Earl’s and Ben’s recent posts about retirement have left me contemplating my own retirement plans. In order for my prospects to improve, we’re going to have to kill the lawyers. Well, maybe not all of them, but at least some. I suggest we kill the old ones and the new ones; the ones who know too much and the ones who know too little.

Old lawyers have worn out their welcome. They take all the good cases and clients, yet bemoan what the profession’s become, longing for "the good old days" when a lawyer’s word allegedly meant something and didn’t have to be reduced to a letter "kindly memorializing our conversation of February 28, 2011 wherein you promised…" I honestly don’t think they’ll fight back. I think they’ll go gracefully, recognizing that they got really lucky, having made most of their money long before tort reform, market saturation, and the obscene proliferation of law schools and their graduates.

As for the young lawyers, they only waste our time. They want us to hire them and pay them big bucks despite the fact that they don’t know how to do anything, other than to draft cover letters full of buzz words, and analyze Supreme Court opinions involving issues that have nothing to do with the daily practices of all but a handful of lawyers. Don’t they know there are already 1.2 million lawyers in the United States? Why are the law schools graduating 40,000 new lawyers each year? What could they possibly think they have to offer? What could they possibly do that some other lawyer isn’t already doing?

If we kill the old and the new, those in the middle, those who know some stuff but are too entrenched with debt, families, and all the trappings of middle class life to change careers, like yours truly, might just have a chance, and maybe even retire one day.

12 comments:

Ben Small said...

Shane: Great idea! I'll start with the plaintiffs' bar, the ones filing the phony asbestos suits, the ones chasing ambulances, and those who are raising our insurance premiums and medical and hospital costs by 30-40%.

Ben Small said...

Oops, my wife suggested politicians, since most of them are lawyers anyway, and I have to go along with her. Then, when she's done, can we start with my list?

Shane Cashion said...

Ben, it appears politicians have far surpassed used car salesman and lawyers on most least trusted profession polls. Behind politicians, it seems plumbers, lawyers, and used car salesman appear to be fairly interchangeable.

Ben Small said...

How could we leave out Hollywood?

Jean Henry Mead said...

I'm glad it's two lawyers making these comments. I've been taken advance of by more than one lawyer in the past and am very gunshy of anything that smacks of legalese. (Present company excluded, of course.)

Shane Cashion said...

Too funny, Jean :). Ben there are TV ads running in Stl soliciting people who may have been exposed to asbestos in the last 50 years. Yes, that's correct, 50 years!!!!!!!

Ben Small said...

We got an asbestos suit once, filed by a 1974 part-time -- half-days, two of them -- office worker, who complained he might have been exposed in the factory. The only asbestos the plant used was in a small O-ring, purchased elsewhere fully encased in tubing and installed that way in some of our fully encased seal-less pumps.

Plaintiff's lawyers admitted they'd never survive a motion for summary judgement, but they also knew that since it was a class action, rulings would take forever, and we'd have to pay a bundle in the interim due to discovery demands. They said they'd dismiss us out for $75,000. We fought it. Cost us much more, again due to the process, but we didn't appreciate what we viewed as extortion.

Shane Cashion said...

Ben as you well know that asbestos stuff is big business here on the fringe of the rust belt. Many of my friends work on both sides here and in Chicago. Before getting pregnant my wife worked as a paralegal for an asbestos defense firm in Stl. Madison County across the river has acquired a national reputation for their "procedures" in handling these cases. I'd hate to fashion a guess as to how many lawyers I know who are making a living off that stuff

Ben Small said...

That county plagued us, too. In S. Carolina, a federal judge accused some of the bar of fraud.

Nightly or during the day, we see ads now for various class actions. It's like baseball cards, the way some of these guys trade lawsuits. Grisham wrote a good book about how these things are run. I only saw the defense side. Sadly, a study performed by one of the East Coast think tanks showed that in case after case, those who receive the most money... are the lawyers.

Unfortunately, our legal system needs reform, and that becomes a political issue.

But our law schools keep pumping out lawyers, whether there's work for them or not. I've stopped donating to my law school. They don't need my bucks; they just got a $32 million endowment from a plaintiffs' lawyer. :)

Shane Cashion said...

I didn't know he was a plaintiff's lawyer.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Reminds me of an old joke -- a man in his 90s finally graduates from law school. When asked why he waited so long, the man replies, "So when I die, there'll be one less lawyer in the world."

Shane Cashion said...

Mark, I have not heard that one, and I honestly thought I'd heard them all :)