Whatever Happened to “I’ll Just Get a Lawyer and Sue You?”

I remember growing up that as kids, we used to say stuff like that. Many years ago, that saying was the most powerful threat you could issue in our society. Today, it seems that we like to take out our weapons and shoot everyone who we dislike. We no longer discuss or argue our differences, we just kill. We shoot until we are arrested or are ourselves killed, but we no longer avail ourselves of the civil remedies available. We no longer go to court to resolve our differences.

I don’t know if society is to blame or if the lawyers are. Lawyers charge so much money today, that no one can afford them, except those suing on a percentage basis, (contingency fee). Good luck getting justice on an hourly basis.  I say, we need better access to courts as common citizens. A goal most lawyers have today is to work at a large  law firm making gazillions. It seems that no one is interested in anything but profit. Older lawyers pride themselves on what giant corporation or bank they represent. What that means is they are guaranteed to be paid their outrageous hourly rates regardless of the outcome.

It also means that the average citizen is not going to get justice at all. How can a lawyer afford to take a case, often for years, without any financial help at all? I mean, most insurance defense or corporate lawyers know that time is their friend, not their enemy. They routinely wear opponents down, bankrupt them, then offer a pittance of what the case is worth, all the while lining their pocket with gold so that they can do it again to the next opponent who dares to question their client.

Good luck trying to get a line of credit today. It’s impossible.  And even if you’re lucky enough to have a lawyer who is able to take the case on, the expenses of litigation will bankrupt them. Today’s costs of depositions and fees is outrageous. I know a court reporter who makes over $350,000.00 per year just taking testimony. That’s remarkable! Factor in the costs of experts, sometimes over $50,000.00 for each one and you’re suddenly at a point you can not afford the case anymore.  No wonder the little guy doesn’t get justice anymore.

Also, don’t forget the  large law firms  donating to the Judges to help them get reelected, (your attorney usually doesn’t);  guess what, you’re in trouble. Every ruling seems to go for the large law firm and against you.  I don’t wonder anymore why so many people shoot first and ask questions later. It seems that just this year a man near here was charged with killing his ex-partner over a business dispute. Little wonder in today’s society.

So how do we fix this problem, you ask? I say we will never fix it as long as big business is in the picture. We will never change the methods until we change the actors. Just when we as lawyers have some success against big business or insurance, they change the rules. They create tort deform and limit the jury awards. They advertise relentlessly on TV about frivolous lawsuits, etc. One of the good things about this bailout is that lawyers are no longer the target of hate. In fact, had big business not monkeyed with the law, lawyers would have been able to correct the problems at Wall Street by way of litigation.

Do you know that there is a department in each big business that figures out how much they will lose in profits versus how much it costs to defend a lawsuit? The only way to correct big business to to sue the hell out of them and take some of their precious profits. How do you like it when your family member is killed by big business and then you are told you can only get $250,000.00 or so?

I say it’s outrageous. Remember trickle down economics is what after feeding the horse comes out the back end for the little guy. If profit is so good for America, why are we in a depression? Why do we have to bail out all banks, auto companies and especially insurance companies?

Well anyway, I’ve ranted enough for today. Hope you all remember that lawyers are the last defenders of freedom left in the front lines of this country. I’m off to court.

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