Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath

Welcome back to another bright and sunny day here on Lawyers & Liquor, where the coffee is as black as my twisted heart and the stress is as overbearing as your mother asking when you’re going to settle down and find a nice boy or girl to share the joy of your life with. I’m the matzo-loving litigator, the Boozy Barrister, and today we’re going to continue our discussion of all the things that have to happen after you pass the bar exam. That’s right, we have another day of celebrating the professional celibacy, or, if you’re caught up in the character and fitness portion of this whole mess, legal cuckolding that is the newly admitted baby lawyer. Be you the recent admission with the ink still drying on your license or the gritty old attorney slowly aging into irrelevance, we here at Lawyers & Liquor believe that you, too, deserve to be roundly lambasted and lectured about the poor life decisions you, personally, have made to lead you to this point.

You may recall that last time we discussed the simple fact that even with the board of bar examiners saying you are minimally competent to practice law on the basis of a few essay questions and filling in the right bubbles here and there, that doesn’t make you an attorney until you’re actually admittedto the practice of law. And, as we talked then, the admission to the practice of law is more than a mere formality, because it involved shit like the Character and Fitness examiners digging deep into your sordid little past of keg stands, requiring you to supplement anything their darkened little souls require. It’s a form of legal confession, except you don’t just think the person hearing your confession may be jerking off, you know they probably are, and there’s no penance for the past in the majority of cases. But whilst you wait for the cabal of legalistic proctologists of the profession to finish snapping on their rubber gloves and just getting elbow deep all up in your shit, there’s something else you can start considering on the assumption that everything will turn out okay, and that’s when are you going to take your oath and become a lawyer.

Because lawyers? We not only fucking swear, we are sworn as well.

Continue reading “Still Not A Lawyer, Part 2 – Let’s Talk About The Oath”

“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: The English Rule and The American Rule, Part 1

Good morning and welcome back to Monday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where I try to recoup all the goodwill I burned through in recovering from an injury and being a general roustabout in anything not case related by redirecting you all away from my flagrant ignoring of my responsibilities on this site and back towards the questions of law, fact, and fun that tend to pop up profanely here.  Isn’t that just one hell of a run-on sentence? Anyhow, I’m your hobbling host the Boozy Barrister, here to pour seething hot rage and recommendations into your eyeholes as we keep trucking on through the dark night of litigation finance.

You may remember that last week, before I disappeared into the netherworld of lazy lawyers in their off time, I spoke about the threats that are coming to bear on the Legal Services Corporation, the federal agency that provides grants to legal aid non-profits and assists them in letting the indigent have their day in court.  The whole reason we have to have organizations like this is because, frankly, if someone hires me to bring a lawsuit or defend one I expect to get fucking paid as a result. Now, some of you out there are saying “Boozy, I thought lawyers only get paid if you win!” To that I say: Do I sound like the type of guy who takes cases on contingency? I like eating my meals. The only gambling I ever do is at the pai gow table, surrounded  by hard-smoking and hard-drinking Chinese businessmen screaming things in Mandarin and Cantonese (neither or which I speak).  I’m not gambling in the office.

I mean, I would if I could, but it’s been hell on wheels trying to get the partners to recognize the need for a pai gow table in the conference room.

No, in most cases us American Attorneys get paid win, lose, or draw.  You may go home with empty pockets and a judgment against you, but I go home with my check or I don’t sally forth into the legal battlefield with you in the first fucking place. And that, for many people out there, is the problem.  But…what if I told you there was another way?  And there may be one, too, if we dig back through the past and examine the alternative method of paying for a lawsuit…which is what we’re doing this week.

But first, let me explain the two historical methods of paying for a lawsuit: The English Rule and the American Rule.

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“The No-Bill Profession” – Legal Aid and Pro Bono

You know what’s nice? Knowing that the practice of law is a profession that places as its benchmark the pursuit of justice and higher school of thought.  We all go into law school thinking that we’re going to change the world through our practice of the law, and some dolent professor with an Ivy League pedigree extols the virtues of the “Noble Savage” that the lawyer is supposed to be.  We are told, in every class, that the law exists to bring justice and that the role of an attorney is a counselor and advocate for the cause of the downtrodden client.  We are, in the words of the administrators and professors, the gatekeepers of justice, the first line of defense against tyranny, and the vindicators of the downtrodden.

And, of course, we then step out into the real world of practice and become made aware of the fact that all that esoteric bullshit and idealism doesn’t make the student loan payment of the rent.  Nobody’s ringing up their landlord and saying “Hey, I stopped a family of five from being evicted today!  They paid me in a big bag of pork rinds!  Will you accept pork rinds in lieu of rent now?”  If your landlord or utility company would ever stop laughing, what they’d choke out is “No, dipshit.”  Idealism doesn’t pay any of the bills.  “Good feels” doesn’t put food on the table.  Advocacy won’t buy avocado toast.

For that, you need money.  And to make money, you have to let go of the concept that you are anything more than a cutthroat mercenary of the legal world.  Because motherfuckers may need justice, but motherfuckers gotta pay to get it.  And yes, there are lawyers out there who provide representation to those people that need it without regard to their ability to pay, and they do some great goddamn work in doing so.  But, and here’s the thing:

They may not be there for much longer, and society has no viable safety net ready and raring to go for those folks.

Continue reading ““The No-Bill Profession” – Legal Aid and Pro Bono”

Everything Wrong with Legal Hiring: Searching for Dick Awesome, Esq.

It seems like every now and again Keith over at Associate’s Mind, the father of LawyerSmack, and I end up focusing on the same topics for a few days in a row. This time it all comes about out of an ad for an attorney and the ridiculous requirements and pay expectations that the firm wanted met in order to hire a lawyer to assist.  I’m not going to do a lot of talking to describe the ad, because you can watch the bullshit flow over on the LawyerSmack website about the anger and frustration of the attorneys that gather around the virtual water cooler (Keith has cleaned the joint up a bit from the days when it was more of a dive bar, and even insisted that sentient whiskey glasses identify themselves in the chat by their real names and everything).  But here’s the gist of the ad’s requirements:

  1. 5-7 years of experience;
  2. 20 cases tried to a verdict, unless you’re a former prosecutor, then at least 80 cases tried to a verdict;
  3. Answers to an attorney with 30 years of experience, and;
  4. Pay is $55,000 to $90,000.

While they’re at it, they’d like to find an attorney that owns his own rainbow-shitting unicorn, lives in a castle made of gingerbread, and can melt the faces of opposing counsel by singing eldritch verses in court. I mean, if we’re going to go all out on this shit, let’s go balls to the goddamn wall crazy with it.

Because the lawyer these guys are looking for?  It doesn’t fucking exist.

Continue reading “Everything Wrong with Legal Hiring: Searching for Dick Awesome, Esq.”

F**k Avvo.

It’s been a long time since I had to censor a post title. I don’t tend to place curse words in the post titles simply because it’s bad practice, and it decreases the number of lawyers and legal folk that will promote, retweet, or link to the post in the long run. Some people care about what their social media displays, because they’ve linked the social media accounts to their professional image and firms and can’t really promote stuff that blatantly curses out others. It’s bad form for a lawyer to be professionally retweeting stuff about bondage gear and the like, and it’s bad form for a lawyer to be promoting blog posts that contain a string of curse words.

But Avvo, the legal website that lets people ask questions for free and allows lawyers to answer those questions for free, has drawn the anger of a drunken litigator for the last goddamn time. I’ve had it. I’ve had it up to my fucking throat in relation to this cesspool of legal marketing disguised as an “access to justice” resource for the general public and their “gun to your head” tactic of recruiting attorneys lockstep into their site. It’s time, motherfuckers. It’s fucking time for the reckoning of the angered lawyer to come down upon you with the full fucking force and let you know exactly how fucking much most practicing lawyers hate your exploitative asses.

Cover your goddamn ears, ye of big firm connections, because today Lawyers & Liquor is lashing out for the little guy who doesn’t have the goddamn time to answer the phone and explain for the 15th fucking time to some faceless rep that they have no goddamn interest in buying a promoted listing from you.

Today, we’re the Avvo-fucking-Avengers.

Continue reading “F**k Avvo.”