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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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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Too Good To Be True: Why You Shouldn’t Take That Big Case

Hey you little legal morons, all you solos and baby lawyers out there struggling to make ends meet.  Sure, the office may be cramped and filled with files, but you’re living the dream of a day-to-day small time lawyer.  Certainly you may be driving Uber to keep the lights on during the slow months, and your bank account may always be on the verge of being overdrawn, but that’s how this law thing is supposed to work, right? And at the end of the day you know that it’ll all be worth it if you can just land that one big case that’ll rake in the hours and the dough, bringing you from the edge of the red to firmly in the black and making it clear that you’re a real player in the legal game, right?

Wrong, dipshit.  Because as Captain Ahab learned, sometimes when you get that white whale you’ve been chasing it may turn right the fuck around and kill you.  Then some asshole writes a book about your horrible defeat at the hands of the big case and it opens with “Call me Justice Scalia” or some shit. I don’t know, I never read Moby Dick after I figured out it wasn’t fucking erotica or some shit.  But even without the strong analogy, the fact remains that one big case can sink your little law office faster than an Italian ferry loaded down with passengers.  The fucker’ll blow your finances up quicker than a Southwest jet engine. It’ll ruin your goddamn future.

So you probably shouldn’t take that big case.

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“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: Part 3 – My Contingent Fee and Me!

Welcome to Part 3 of talking about fees here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we endeavor to provide the best in profane prose about the legal profession to both the laity and those who are damn near laity, the baby lawyers and law students.  Over the past couple posts, prior to our brief break for a sojourn into the land of the furry animal people on Friday, I’ve been talking my way through lawyer fees and answering the age old questions of rapping clowns everywhere:  “How the fuck do they work?”

We started off recognizing that there’s really no system outside of the rapidly dwindling support of the government through the Legal Services Corporation for the poor and downtrodden to obtain legal representation in their civil matters.  We moved on to discuss the unmitigated evil that is the billable hour, and how it sucks both the souls of associated and the wallets of the clients they represent.  Now we’re going to move on to the third portion of our rather obvious discussion of the many different fee agreements out there, and the one that most people who call your office obviously want you to use: “We don’t pay unless you win!”  Or, as we know it professionally, the “Contingent Fee Agreement.”

And we’re gonna talk about why that still isn’t a good solution to the issue with there being massive underfunding in legal aid and isn’t really a good business model except for a few restricted areas of practice.

Continue reading ““Fees Fi Fo Fum”: Part 3 – My Contingent Fee and Me!”