Liable But Not Culpable, Part 3: Lexplaining The Reasonable Person and Civil Justice

Welcome to the third part of our interesting investigation of intent here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we strive to provide baby lawyers and law students with a profane purview of the legal profession.  I’m your host with little to say and 1,500+ words to say it in, the Boozy Barrister.

So, like we’ve covered every other time, this guide isn’t really aimed at lawyers.  I mean, at least not good lawyers who paid attention during their first year of law school and therefore have a semi-firm grasp on these basic fucking concepts.  I mean, these are concepts so basic they get a latte from the same Starbucks every damn day.  You should know this shit well before now if you’re an attorney and any where the day-to-day practice of lot and not busy being some in-house asshole who forms their furniture solely out of frightened interns and sales representatives.  It’s basic and fundamental to the practice of law to understand the question of states of mind and intent in the civil and criminal law system, that’s what we’re getting at here.

And we’ve gone through it now.  Last time and the time before that we looked at the basic differences between the criminal and civil justice system and the standards of proof used, and then at the question and definition of what “intent” and “mens rea” mean in regards to the criminal justice system alone.  And that was some dense shit, man. This time, though, we’re going to go into the sort of law that most of the people out there are going to be experienced with at some point in their life, and that’s civil justice.  Because life isn’t a fucking Law & Order episode where a random celebrity is going to show up and commit some horrible crime against us, no matter how many times Kevin Spacey tries to break into your bedroom at night.

So, without taking up any more of my precious intro space, let’s lead ourselves down the garden path of civil intent and its meaning in this, our penultimate installment in our multi-part series.

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Liable but not Culpable, Part 2: Lexplaining Intent in the Criminal System

Welcome to the second installment of the Lawyers & Liquor series on the difference between the criminal and civil justice systems.  I’m your host, the Boozy Barrister.

So last time we talked about the general differences between the criminal and civil justice systems.  We talked about the difference between the burdens of proof necessary to hold someone responsible for an offense, the intention of the two systems, the nature of who is bringing a case, the punishments, and where the basis for criminal and civil law is found.  That was all leading up to today’s discussion, which could possibly be useful for lawyers that have lost half of their brain, or may have been practicing in one area for so long that they’ve forgotten the differences when they switch fields.

So, today on Lawyers & Liquor, and without any further dilly dallying back and forth, we’re going to start talking about the concept of mens rea in both the civil and criminal systems.

Let’s start with a conversation today about mens rea and criminal law because, once fucking again my wonderful little shit stains, this shit is somewhat complex and I’m basically boiling down like three weeks of criminal law courses into a single goddamn post for you.

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Liable But Not Culpable: Lexplaining The Criminal and Civil Justice Systems, Part 1

It’s May! Well, it’s halfway through May, and so in my infinite wisdom and general niceness, because I’m simply on heck of a guy who cares about those lowly law students, I’ve decided that I’m going to do a bit of a primer on a key difference in law that most people don’t understand.  Hell, I’ve met lawyers that don’t really understand it. It’s because the difference that we’re talking about here is the difference between criminal culpability and civil liability, and the difference between what criminal intent and civil intent are.

Have I gone long enough without cussing that it won’t show up on the article previews in social media? Thank fuck.  Alright, listen, if you’re a lawyer and you don’t already know this shit, hand in your law license.  There is literally no reason for you to be practicing law. No reason, whatsoever. This is some basic ass shit, like, so basic we’re talking “pumpkin spice latte wearing ugg boots” levels of basic.   There’s absolutely no reason a practicing attorney shouldn’t already be aware of this first-year-of-law-school bullshit, but it was requested by a reader that I dig into the difference between the two, and that’s what we’re going to do today: the difference between civil liability and criminal culpability.

But before I even start to talk about that, the difference in the state of mind needed and the types of shit that happens, we gotta make sure the non-lawyers out there understand the difference between criminal and civil.  And that means, of course, that we’re going to end up doing a Lexplanation (you like that? I like it.  It’s a portmanteau of lex, the Latin for law, and explanation, the English for “talking slowly and loudly to morons”).

So, I don’t know guys, go get some coffee or something and see what Popehat is up to? He’s normally got some decent shit on his site.  I’ll be over here forcefeeding basic legal knowledge to muggles and walking malpractice suits.

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Being a Legal Dom: The Importance of Client Control

Welcome to the new and improved, but still the same, Lawyers & Liquor.  I’m the Boozy Barrister, here to provide some practice tips to the young and stupid among you, in particular any dipshit that went to law school with stars in their eyes and a song in their heart.

It’s all well and good to go into law school believing that people are all essentially good at heart and just need some help through a literal and metaphorical trial in their life. But that’s the sort of idealism that gets you shot in the goddamn ass, because it leads to you viewing clients as something more than billable sacks of flesh that you can hit with a stick to make money fly directly into the firm’s operating account, and that shit is a problem.

Why, you may say, is it so bad for an attorney to grow close to their clients, or at least so close that they recognize during the course of representation that every client may not be a worthless fuckhead who needs competent legal representation merely to wipe their own ass? Because part of the job of an attorney is to act as a leather-bound dominatrix, exerting control and twisting clients into accepting the situation as it exists and not as they fucking want it to exist.

That’s right, to a certain degree every lawyer is a kinky-ass, whip-wielding mistress just waiting to tell the client they’ve been a bad boy. And I’m not just talking about our hobbies in the off-hours. So if you want to be a successful attorney, you better squeeze your ass into some high heels and get ready to step on the nutsack of your client’s ambitions and goals to bring them to reality, because the effective representation of people all fucking comes down to client control.

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Guest Post: The Three Major Components of a Lawyer’s Job – Sam Castree a/k/a IndieGameLayer

[Today’s guest post is from Sam Castree, the Head of Entertainment Law at Crawford Intellectual Property Law out there in Barrington, IL…you know, the state you have to go through both Ohio and Indiana to get to from here.  Sam can be found on Twitter at @IndieGameLawyer, and has graciously agreed to provide me with a break.  Sit back and enjoy the…less profane…take on the job of a lawyer.  -Boozy].

Hello out there!  My name is Sam Castree.  I’m the head of Entertainment Law at Crawford Intellectual Property Law in Barrington, Illinois.  Today, I’m doing a guest post for the Boozy Barrister, which is clear proof that I’ve finally made it in the legal world.

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