Are law firms pleasant places to work?

Yes   1 vote - 50 %
No   0 votes - 0 %
Hell, no   1 vote - 50 %
Are you MAD?!   0 votes - 0 %
 
2 Total Votes
folk might be too busy to steal staplers by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:24:41 AM EST
Good luck with the legal career. Attrition rates are brutal, but the money is great if you can hang on for a decade or two.

all the groups are busy now by nathan (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:30:26 AM EST
Esepcially mine (I'm gunning for tax.) OK, RE is still in the toilet.

TY for the kind wishes. If I can actually make partner someplace, that'd be very nice.

[ Parent ]
tax is very interesting puzzles by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:35:17 AM EST
(or so I'm told)

But at the end of the day you just helped $MegaCorp not pay taxes.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
what by nathan (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:49:40 AM EST
But at the end of the day you just helped $MegaCorp not pay taxes.

That's a pretty dumb way of looking at it, no offense. How much tax should they pay? More than the law says? Less?

[ Parent ]
for a lot of us by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:35:27 AM EST
i think that leads to bad policy by nathan (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:45:41 AM EST
For instance, in the USA, corporate tax rates are far higher than in other industrial democracies. (Japan's rates approach America's, but eg. Canada, France, Sweden's rates are far lower.) But this doesn't restrain offensive uses of corporate power.

Going forward, if we want managed aggregations of wealth, ie, corporations, we will have to figure out how to regulate them. It's not obvious to me that the corporation should even be a locus of taxation, though, since we should be able to tax the individual people receiving corporate money. Corporate taxation is kind of a policy kludge.

[ Parent ]
figuring out how to regulate them by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:38:08 PM EST
seems to be difficult as a political matter because politics is driven by two groups: one who instinctively distrusts everything corporations do, and one who instinctively trusts everything corporations do.

the middle ground seems to have been abandoned sometime during the 1970s.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:30:48 AM EST

This comment has been deleted by infinitera



is this post intended to be passive-aggressive? by nathan (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:50:24 AM EST
I can't quite tell.

[ Parent ]
it's intended to be conversational by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:35:05 AM EST
Forget it.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
depends by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:11:19 AM EST
Some stuff is more stressful, you definitely need a certain personality to practice family or criminal law.

Doing eg. corporate work isn't as emotionally trying, but you need to actually enjoy the work, because as you say, you'll be spending crazy hours at it.

That's maybe the most important thing to try to figure out, find an area that's intrinsically interesting/motivating. The money won't be enough to keep you grinding at a practice you don't inherently enjoy at some level.

[ Parent ]
this guy knows what he's talking about by nathan (2.00 / 0) #8 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:14:41 AM EST
(Assuming 'guy' b/c after all this is teh int4rw3bz0rs.)

[ Parent ]
rule 30 by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #9 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:18:40 AM EST
that picture: by nathan (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:29:45 AM EST
you know, nobody else gets this treatment by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:38:08 AM EST
Male, 28, gainfully employed in non-legal profession.
Married to: Female, 28, employed multiple times by firms of varying sizes and specialities.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
well, I think corporate can be emotional by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #18 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:45:03 AM EST
There's people at the ends of each contract. And the purpose of zealous advocacy for your client is to screw them over.

It's not a system for justice.

I guess I should have put this another way: I hope you agree with the as-is system of law that we have, and not just the logical/philosophical field of law.

Otherwise, it won't matter if the puzzle is great, because you'll still have things grinding you down.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
you really sound like a malcontent by nathan (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:55:24 AM EST
The purpose of zealous advocacy for your client is to screw them over.

The point of zealous advocacy, within the restraints of prudence, the law, and professional ethics, is to ensure that each party receives the full benefit of motivated counsel. There's no particular reason to believe that a centrally-directed system of justice would result in less screwing. In fact, we can test your hypothesis by looking at continental Europe, a system in which the court plays a far more active role and 'iura novit curia.' Oddly, injustice often prevails even so.

The purpose of the law is mainly order (public justice,) not cosmic justice or even personal justice. Justice in the larger sense is a matter for society, not the courts.

[ Parent ]
professional ethics? by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 12:02:12 PM EST
<nelson>Haha!</nelson>

Btw, I did not advocate (nor would I) for a centralized system. Your leap is very impressive, though.

Order can be maintained without biasing the system towards those with more resources to maintain legal action and research. What we have is a certain type of order, yes, and as a malcontent, I am against it. The order however is of a special sort (and for a special sort), as these things generally are.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
more by nathan (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 12:11:48 PM EST

Ok, so you don't want a central system, and you don't want an adversarial system. What do you want?

As for your link to a guy who's mad about John Yoo, what does that have to do contracts? Is your point just that you won't be disbarred unless you steal from your clients or knowingly lie to the court? If so, that's, again, a flatheaded thing to say. Pointing to an edge case on an ethical issue doesn't prove anything about normal professional standards in the legal profession, even if we accept Balkin's reading. (And I don't see any facial reason why we should; Yoo is a legal scholar of equal eminence.)

If you're a serious critic of the existing legal regime, presumably you have an alternative to existing legal ethics and legal procedure. At least a sketch. Or maybe you just like to complain about things you don't understand very well.



[ Parent ]
well, the main issue by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 01:22:29 PM EST
Is that lawyers are integral to property relations.

I can't think of any way to make system qualitatively better without first addressing the problem of property. Acquiring or protecting it is no less a sausage-making process than politics. My initial point was that this process can wear people down, even when the detailed work is interesting.

Based on your reaction though, the personal experience I alluded to is not applicable, and I'm glad you are enjoying your time at the firm.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
i think the difference between you and me is that by nathan (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 02:53:03 PM EST
You want to completely reform society top-to-bottom, except that you don't really know what you'd do differently. I, on the other hand, have a basically tragic view of humanity and I doubt that there's any obvious direction for reform to go. I don't exactly say that genuine social reform is impossible, only that I don't see how to do it, nor evidence that it is in fact possible.

A lawyer in the Byzantine Empire couldn't possibly have foreseen that 18th-c England would initiate the process of escape from the Malthusian trap, and if he could, it wouldn't have done anyone any good. That's more or less how I feel. Insofar as beneficial reform ever happens, it will not be primarily driven by changes in the law. Rather, it's the job of good lawyers to manage the existing system (since the alternative is chaos) and to adapt current systems to fit our needs as they evolve.

If this makes me an ethically bankrupt corporate stooge with no sense of justice and no ethics beyond what's necessary to keep my license, well I guess so, I guess so.

[ Parent ]
top-bottom by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #25 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 03:54:13 PM EST
reform from top-bottom will fail. it just about always does.

but that doesn't mean that reform is impossible from the bottom up. see, for example, the civil rights movement. or the gay rights movement. or the environmentalist movement.

i wouldn't say these movements have achieved their dreams; but they've certainly brought about beneficial change.

which means on some level the most important thing we can do as individuals is ask: what do we want the world to be, and how does what we do in our day to day lives conflict with that?

I'm not sure how corporate lawyering works in with this; i'm pretty sure you don't have the scope to tell your clients "i can do this for you, but i think it's a bad idea because of its social costs and i really don't think you should do it."

some areas of law are more amenable to that kind of interaction than others.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
i've always advocated bottom-top by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:16:14 PM EST
To have a different society, you need different people. Nathan doesn't believe that people can be better, I do.

I think hierarchy and power relations make them what they are right now - and necessitates the social order we have.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
"People" by dmg (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:46:28 PM EST
Are what got us into the current mess in the first place... 
--
dmg - HuSi's most dimwitted overprivileged user.
[ Parent ]
your point was that law sucks if you're rousseau by nathan (2.00 / 0) #29 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:50:54 PM EST

I'm comfortable not being Rousseau.

I feel your pain, though. Since (1) all societies that have ever existed were utterly wicked and monstrous and (2) we will one day live in a socialist utopia, it must be very painful day to day to not have arrived at (2). Especially since odds are we'll all die before it happens.



[ Parent ]
1 is false by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #32 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 05:59:00 PM EST
and 2 doesn't apply to me.

Have a nice day.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
there's that passive-aggressive thing again by nathan (2.00 / 0) #33 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:16:56 PM EST
"Have a nice day," really? Really?

You come into my diary to sling insinuations about the soullessness of anyone who could stand to do my job. You clumsily complain about the state of the law without offering any alternatives or demonstrating any real awareness of what an accomplishment it was for our society to get to where it is now. You scorn the suggestion that there are meaningful legal ethics, which means that lawyers are not meaningfully ethical.

When pressed, you declare that property makes people evil and then you get offended when I compare you to Rousseau. To be honest, I struggle to find any kind of coherent thread in your posts. They come across as adolescent. I've been up front about my position, but whenever I've asked you to define yours, all you've said is that, unless I'm just callous or uncaring, I should uncomfortable for working in the legal field. Honestly, I think you have no idea what  you're talking about and you haven't shown you have anything to add to this diary beyond trite moralizing.

For what it's worth, today I helped a small restaurant deal with a frivolous rent demand from a mortgagee. (The mortgagor had defaulted, and the guy who bought out his note was trying to collect back rent that had been properly withheld for repairs pursuant to the rental agreement.) This evening, I'm going to stay late to study a complex regulation governing the sale of shares bearing tax losses. Without structures doing these things, you don't have a complex society, you have lawlessness and social collapse and the rule of force rather than law. I'm under no illusions that in helping run the system, I'm in the City of God. But on the other hand, the City of Man exists in order to limit the evils of anarchy and tyranny, two faces of the same coin, and there are worse things to do with your life than to hold those back.

[ Parent ]
discomfort with legal ethics by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #36 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:36:55 PM EST
seems to be quite common among non-lawyers, particularly idealistic ones.

because at the end of the day a lawyer is required under certain circumstances to put the interests of his client above his beliefs about the interests of society as a whole.

the question of what to do with a client whose behavior violates your ethical standards is a troubling one, and it's the thing which comes to mind for most people whenever the ethics of lawyering come up.

a lot of that is selection bias - these are the cases which get the press coverage and so therefore they're the things non-specialists have heard about.

But on the other hand, the City of Man exists in order to limit the evils of anarchy and tyranny, two faces of the same coin, and there are worse things to do with your life than to hold those back.

I think that's absolutely true.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
to me, that kind of thing sounds like by nathan (2.00 / 0) #40 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:07:12 PM EST
"I am very angry about engineering ethics. After all, engineers designed and built all the weapons of the modern era, so anyone who gets shot should blame engineers." I'm not accusing you of harboring that view, of course.

There is something a little squick about helping someone to do something that, if technically legal, is something you'd rather they didn't do. I admit that. But very little of that takes place at the level of legal advice. Usually, lawyers are, at most, trying to pull a bullheaded client's chestnuts out of the fire, and more usually, simply trying to make the system work. The idea of evil lawyers slithering around arranging hits and poisoning Third World orphans is the kind of absurd caricature that adults should simply not harbor.

There's a reason that the government is trying to reduce adversarial processes in transactions by, eg, introducing the various expedited-resolution IRS procedures, rolling 1933 and 1934 securities compliance into single forms where appropriate, etc. Most people don't just obey the law, they conform to the larger system of customs and acceptable behavior defining society at large. It's really strange to try, as some do, to place responsibility for general good conduct onto the shoulders of the legal institutions, since by definition law is invoked only when informal relations break down. But I'm wandering.

[ Parent ]
the wandering is interesting by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #44 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:21:29 PM EST
i've certainly seen that argument with respect to the engineers responsible for building the a-bomb, or other weapons.

i think the major difference is that people attribute the squicky behavior to particular individual engineers as opposed to all lawyers.

The idea of evil lawyers slithering around arranging hits and poisoning Third World orphans is the kind of absurd caricature that adults should simply not harbor.

Ah, but I think most people - even adults - harbor absurd caricatures about many things they know nothing of ... because those absurd caricatures help us simplify the world, and that's a useful skill. Certainly I know nothing of what really goes on on an oil rig - and while I'm going to try to learn about it before shooting my mouth off about it, that doesn't mean I don't harbor some absurd caricature today.

Maybe i'm used to it, because - as someone who has spent time as a hippie stoner, and as a skateboarder, and as a raver, and as a gamer nerd- I'm used to clueless people harboring absurd caricatures of me because they haven't actually taken the time to learn about the things they are prejudging; so I sort of expect it everywhere now.

Most people don't just obey the law, they conform to the larger system of customs and acceptable behavior defining society at large.

Certainly.

It's really strange to try, as some do, to place responsibility for general good conduct onto the shoulders of the legal institutions, since by definition law is invoked only when informal relations break down

Aha! That's an interesting problem - since informal relations have already broken down, isn't this sort of the last place where good conduct can be enforced?

Arguably that's what the court system is for, right?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I don't see inifinitera as a socialist. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #35 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:30:57 PM EST
maybe an anarcho-socialist ... but those are different beasts. :)

a more interesting question, though, is (1): "all societies that have ever existed were utterly wicked and monstrous."

i have a genuinely optimistic, positive view of human nature ... and as a result I find (1) to be a ridiculous exaggeration and overstatement.

all societies which have ever existed were flawed, sure. humans are flawed; everything we build contains the fruit of those flaws.

but part of the greatness of humanity is our power to see those flaws and work on them.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
i don't know infinitera well enough to say by nathan (2.00 / 0) #38 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:56:24 PM EST
All I can go by is what he's posted in this diary. He hasn't given me a lot to go by other than the idea that everyone working in law who is uncomfortable is unfeeling and perhaps contemptible. Well, whatever.

[ Parent ]
he's an old timer by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #39 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:06:21 PM EST
and as a result i have a tendency to view everything he writes in the context of an image of him i built up a decade ago.

which might be unfair.

but, honestly, i do that for most of the long-timers.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
who is NOT uncomfortable by nathan (2.00 / 0) #41 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:07:52 PM EST
what do you mean i can't edit my posts grrr

[ Parent ]
aye, that was clear from context. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #45 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:22:42 PM EST
as an aside, going to law school significantly decreased my impression of the writing skills of the average lawyer.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
according to the Curmudgeon, by nathan (2.00 / 0) #51 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:22:19 PM EST
A partner wants to be able to sign and send your briefs, in full reliance on your writing and research. Nothing leaves my desk without a full rewrite. That said, the Curmudgeon had to ask for that because it was so rare. Atrocious.


[ Parent ]
re: scope by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:32:05 PM EST
Yes, you could be disbarred or discliplined.

But the point was that, for some people, not having that in scope day in and day out can be a draining experience.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
Corporation X wants to issue $300M of bonds by nathan (2.00 / 0) #30 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:52:59 PM EST
In order to build a new wind farm. The Teachers' Union Pension Fund wants to invest in $30M of bonds because its spreadsheets show that these are a favorable investment supporting the interests of its stakeholders.

Is this a basically good or basically evil act?

[ Parent ]
I disagree that modern society is better or more by nathan (2.00 / 0) #31 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 04:59:19 PM EST
Moral than past societies in general. We do what we can with what we have, and so did they. Much of what we think is fundamental to human life was only made possible by the rapid escalation in living standards brought about by industrialization. For instance, past societies ran on compelled labor because there was no alternative. Past societies relied heavily on capital and corporal punishment because life was cheap and food was dear; it would be criminal to house felons at public expense even as famine ravaged hard-working, law-abiding peasants. Et cetera.

Can specific evils and abuses be corrected? Sure. They often bring in other problems by the back door, though. Let's assume arguendo that the DDT ban led to preventable deaths from malaria in the Third World. Apparently, then, environmentalism has blood on its hands from its earliest days. That doesn't mean it's wholly worthless, few things are so black and white.

Long story short, being a reformer on some specific issue is fully compatible with skepticism about the perfectibility of human nature, the coherence of the concept of 'progress,' and frank unwillingness to subscribe to Whig history and the progressive narrative.

[ Parent ]
sort of agree and sort of disagree. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #34 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 07:28:26 PM EST
"we do what we can with what we have, and so did they" is a valid point, and I understand the notion that it's easy to judge the past by the standards of today.

But I think it's facile to say that the reason that we don't use compelled labor today is that people just magically decided to give it up when the economics changed. We don't use compelled labor today - in those societies where we don't - because people worked long and hard for many years to convince other people to stop doing it.

I agree that being a reformer on a specific issue isn't incompatible with skepticism about the perfectability of human nature, etc; and I agree that side effects are unpredictable and potentially troublesome.

But none of this undermines my point: it's idiotic to sit back and expect the world to improve without deciding to do our bit. every choice in our interactions with the world and with others has an effect on the world; we can work on being conscious of those effects and on choosing our actions based on the effects, or we can just ignore them ... but if we choose to ignore the effects of our actions, aren't we part of the very problem we condemn?

This might not apply to someone who has no faith that the world can be better than it is.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
more by nathan (2.00 / 0) #43 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:18:05 PM EST
"But I think it's facile to say that the reason that we don't use compelled labor today is that people just magically decided to give it up when the economics changed. We don't use compelled labor today - in those societies where we don't - because people worked long and hard for many years to convince other people to stop doing it...."

And because the economics changed. No advanced society in the premodern era eschewed compelled labor. I refuse to believe that this was because they were all just evil. Either you blame it on pervasive malice, or you blame it on economic conditions.

Now, I agree that compelled labor is intrinsically evil, and resorting to it once it is no longer necessary is to replace a necessary evil with an unnecessary one for the purpose of enriching yourself without toil. We are all properly contemptuous of slavery in the modern era for that reason. On the other hand, I refuse to place medieval Europe on the same moral footing as the South in 1862 solely on the grounds that they both based their economies on compelled labor.

I am genuinely skeptical of (1) the idea of moral progress, as opposed to the idea of controlling gross social evils through incentives per Kant's argument in What Is Enlightenment, and (2) the independence of the morality we have from the morality we can afford to have. But that's a larger argument. The point relevant to this diary is that I don't think the general presence of some degree of evil in our society is a reason to feel bad that I work in a law firm.

[ Parent ]
it seems to be a difference of focus more by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #46 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:26:22 PM EST
And because the economics changed

Right. I object to focusing on the economics because I think doing so undervalues the courage and commitment of those who worked to change the mores of the societies around them. But certainly that work only succeeded because the soil was fertile; the same exact activism in Roman times would have failed.

On the other hand, I refuse to place medieval Europe on the same moral footing as the South in 1862 solely on the grounds that they both based their economies on compelled labor.

That's fair.

The point relevant to this diary is that I don't think the general presence of some degree of evil in our society is a reason to feel bad that I work in a law firm.

It isn't. That's sort of the point I was making to infinitera in one of my other comments: yeah, it sucks that those without resources can't pay for stuff, but lawyers aren't responsible for creating that situation. Similarly, lawyers as a whole don't create the evil in our society. Individual lawyers might, but there's no good reason to assume that any given lawyer is one of them.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
a question. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #42 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:11:22 PM EST
is your problem about where the resources are deployed?

it seems to me that you're basically saying that the problem with the legal profession is that legal resources are available to those who can pay them while not available to those who have few resources.

if i'm right in my summary of your complaint, I would respond with the following:

  • probably an absolute majority of the people I know in law school would be perfectly happy to go do public interest work
  • but they have to eat and they aren't willing to sacrifice comfort.
  • and they have to pay back $100K+ in loans they've taken out.
i have serious gripes with the way we pay for legal (and medical) education. but that aside, it seems to me that your basic argument (in the immediate parent post) is that it sucks that people who don't have resources don't get things for free.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
well, no by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #47 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:50:07 PM EST
We are entitled to equal treatment under the law, are we not?

Why is the law's protection subject to ever larger capital requirements depending on who you need protection from?

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
equal protection under the law by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #48 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 08:59:09 PM EST
is a rule regarding what the state is allowed to do: roughly speaking, it has to treat you the same no matter who you are.

but an attorney hiring out his services to help you navigate the legal maze isn't the state. he isn't an agent of the state. he's an independent contractor.

i suppose you could argue that all attorneys should be agents of the state, paid by the state and made available free of charge to potential clients. (this would actually introduce a pretty significant set of ethical issues involving (a) rotating clients meaning that you likely would end up working for someone who needed information you'd gained in confidence from some previous client, and (b) a conflict of interest in state<->client disputes, but hey).

the thing is: we kind of have that already with respect to criminal cases in that public defenders are provided. but PD offices are typically significantly underfunded and the PDs don't have the time to truly fight for all of their clients; there's a reason why many people in communities where PDs are heavily relied upon frequently refer to them as "public pretenders".

this isn't to say anything bad about the lawyers involved: society as a whole doesn't really stand behind the existence of PDs in any meaningful sense, so the program is financially shortchanged.

i don't understand why a universal single-payer lawyering plan wouldn't work the same way.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
right, but the legal maze.. by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #58 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:20:05 PM EST
Is the oh so wonderful City of Man. That is to say, the application of laws is uneven. Even when there exists a legal protection against some private predation, most do not have access to it. We've done a great job of protecting ourselves from the State's predation, but most of it is from private, wealthy parties now.

Additionally, it's more difficult to know that you need legal assistance than when dealing with the state, so it's not just a matter of having a guide through the maze, but also knowing when you have entered it. Selective enforcement by the State is also often a function of resource limits or pressures by this or that set of property interests. None of this is new to the post-industrial age of course. But with more exploitative options/more aggregation/less commons, it's a greater problem with further reach.

Wouldn't dream of applying Tyranny or thuggish Anarchy to private actions emerging from the intricate maze though!

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
do you have anything specific? by nathan (2.00 / 0) #59 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:57:43 PM EST
There's a reason federal courts don't address generalized grievances. You haven't identified specific wrongs or identified culpable parties. WTF do you want?


[ Parent ]
they're not relevant by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #60 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:00:37 PM EST
I'm glad you like your clients. I do however think you're naive about clients in general.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
ok, so you have nothing substantive to contribute by nathan (2.00 / 0) #61 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:20:00 PM EST
If you don't have any specific examples of the abuses you want to allege, why should I believe that they even exist? How do you know that the rich buy justice (nb, I don't know if that's actually what you allege because you won't tell me) if you can't cite an example and show that's what happened?


[ Parent ]
my paradigm example for this by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #62 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 02:37:12 AM EST
is the OJ trial.

I'm much happier for a guilty man to walk free than an innocent man to be convicted.

But I do not believe that a poor black man in identical circumstances would have been acquitted.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
the OJ case is the exception, not the rule by nathan (2.00 / 0) #64 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 10:36:18 AM EST
He was acquitted in part because the issue was racialized. More generally, rich murderers getting away with it are not common enough to amount to a serious problem with the justice system.

[ Parent ]
i would add by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #49 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:02:10 PM EST
that i do think that, just as a I as a citizen have a responsibility to my fellows to engage with the system as a citizen, I think that I as a lawyer have a responsibility to spend time and energy helping the law-impaired navigate our system.

but i don't think that becoming trained in the law creates a moral responsibility to give up my ability to sell my services for an amount which allows me to live the life I want to live.

that would be absurd: the fact that I can do a different kind of good than I could before, the fact that I've paid $90K out of my own pocket to acquire that skill, should not make me less worthy of payment for my services.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
i agree with you by infinitera (2.00 / 0) #52 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:33:53 PM EST
It doesn't place any burden upon you.

But there is a burden upon the State, if it aims to be just, to ensure that the benefits of the law are accessible to those without capital.

And that the protections (e.g. liability shields, expensively drawn out cases) are not absolute for those with it.

Additionally, there is also a burden upon the State to protect citizens from the predations of others (e.g. Tyranny), but corporations generally get away with murder.

One might say that's a failure of the State. But it's also a success of the legal profession in protecting private property.

Should lawyers get compensated for their detailed mental labors? Of course. Are those with capital advantaged over all others in the legal system? Also, of course - they can buy more legal services, which generally leads to favorable outcomes.

So like I said, it's a not a problem with lawyers. It's a problem with capitalists and what they ask of lawyers.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

[ Parent ]
i think you thought you meant 'equal protection' by nathan (2.00 / 0) #50 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:07:36 PM EST
Or smth, whatever. That's not what EP means, of course.

You can buy better lawyering but

(1) that doesn't guarantee the outcome you want, it merely improves the odds if the other side is incompetent;

(2) granted a baseline of competence, quality of lawyers only matters at the corporate scale for various reasons, like (a) most private citizens can't afford to hire a market rate firm; the ones who can are rappers or the Pritzkers or something (b) most cases are open and shut and few will reach judgment on the merits much less make it to trial (c) criminal standards are skewed towards the defendant since criminal defendants oppose the entire power of the state (d) it's very easy to get a clinic at a good law school to take your case if it presents the sort of issue where you could win through sophisticated lawyering (e) in sophisticated transactions, hiring a leading firm is as much CYA as it is paying to win (f) at the level of sophisticated transactions, absolutely no one wants a trial b/c the risk at trial is too hard to hedge against and it almost never makes sense to go to trial

(3) civil rights are ever-expanding and their expansion is driven mainly by (a) major-firm lawyers doing pro bono work and (b) leading law schools; you can't quash a civil right by spending money

(4) lawyers skew D by something like 25 points and are emotionally responsive to oppressed little guys, like eg my firm has several $1M/yr partners who do mainly pro bono and appellate work

Basically, the legal system as it exists today is probably the most friendly ever to individual plaintiffs, to civil rights claims, and to the expansion of legally enforceable rights. It is stuffed to the gills at the highest levels with extremely sophisticated actors who commit massive quantities of resources to public service and pro bono work.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe you could link me to some cases where slithering, evil lawyers conspired with swinish, corpulent CEO's in 3-piece suits to steal large sacks with dollar signs on them from widows and orphans, or whatever it is that you're alleging. Or to put it another way, FRCP 12b6 requires that you plead with specificity, or the court will dismiss your suit for failure to state a claim. The standard is lower for unsophisticated pro se plaintiffs, of course.


[ Parent ]
The water is poison by duxup (2.00 / 0) #10 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:20:43 AM EST
This is your only warning.

____
drinking water doesn't help you lift weights = by nathan (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:26:43 AM EST


[ Parent ]
congratulations. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:35:53 AM EST
i've one more year - PT program - so i'd be very interested to hear how your year goes. :)
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
cool, hope it's going well by nathan (2.00 / 0) #17 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 11:38:28 AM EST
I'll keep you posted. Are you going IP?

[ Parent ]
Misperceptions by lm (2.00 / 0) #53 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:40:37 PM EST
Dilbert and Office Space take place in engineering firms.

To know what working in a law office is like, you have to watch reruns of Angel and Ally McBeal.

Changing subjects, I'm glad that you like what you do to bring in the money. That's all too rare.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
not to mention by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #54 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:52:31 PM EST
I don't think I ever watched that by lm (2.00 / 0) #55 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 09:56:59 PM EST
But I also only ever recall having watched a single episode of Ally McBeal. My impression was mostly wondering what all the fuss was about.

I did watch almost one full season of Boston Legal and would tune in The Practice from time to time.

Consequently, I think it safe to say that working in a law firm in real life is almost certainly just like working at Wolfram & Hart, Attorneys at Law.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
true, I'm not allowed in room 6 on floor 66 by nathan (2.00 / 0) #57 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:05:47 PM EST
But I'm sure there's a perfectly rational explanation for that. It's certainly not a case of dem@$%@25@#$%tuioht29piuwhw; NO CARRIER


[ Parent ]
lm, you officially rule by nathan (2.00 / 0) #56 Tue Jun 01, 2010 at 10:03:16 PM EST
Some call it arrant pedantry. Others, facts-driven argumentation. I'm in the second camp, and this post made me snortle.

It has it downsides, I'm sure, but all jobs do, and I'm kind of impressed how little goat-s**** there is to it so far. The other thing is that everyone who works here is either a lawyer or staff, and the staff is all competent and the lawyers are all really good at what they do, like even the bad ones are only relatively bad.

How do you do that spoiler-hiding thing you do?




[ Parent ]
((spoiler spoiled text)) by lm (2.00 / 0) #63 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 05:56:07 AM EST
The double parenthesis indicate that a macro. The text 'spoiler' is the label for which macro is indicated. The text 'spoiled text' is the text you want covered up.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
TYVM! by nathan (2.00 / 0) #65 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 10:37:10 AM EST
You rule!

[ Parent ]
Stop wasting billables. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #66 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 04:44:15 PM EST
GBTW, slave.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

i beg to differ by nathan (2.00 / 0) #67 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 07:50:37 PM EST
Slaves don't get paid. I get paid. Therefore, not a slave. QED, meyn froynd.

[ Parent ]
Slaves get paid with food and shelter. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #68 Wed Jun 02, 2010 at 08:16:31 PM EST
What were you promised?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
gzt-style giant sacks of cash = by nathan (2.00 / 0) #69 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 01:47:48 AM EST



[ Parent ]
How many hours by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #70 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 02:17:42 AM EST
did you have to swear for that, Mr. Associate?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
when you do the math, it comes out to by nathan (4.00 / 1) #71 Thu Jun 03, 2010 at 10:52:54 AM EST
$60-$80/hr for a first-year associate.

But it's not all Luger steaks and deskside bottle service. In fact, some law firms have a disquieting new problem.

[ Parent ]