Thursday, February 04, 2010

Post 9-11 Legal Climate

I had a talk with a prominent civil rights attorney tonight.

My notes from the conversation:

- $100,000 ... lawyers not taking cases on contingency, cases already are losers in new climate

- for some lawyers, the work is drying up

- Just won't take cases against the police (can't win, almost no matter what they do, police get upset and retaliate if they're questioned about any of their wrongdoing - retaliation - fear)

- summary judgment (Why read a 200 page brief, do any work, when you can just issue a decision and then not have to explain a thing?)

- immunity of judges (laziness, arrogance, more time for golf - judges no longer expected to put in any work for huge paychecks and the "unmentionable" money sources)

The conversation, to the best of my memory:

Ten years ago he'd take cases against police officers on a contingency basis. Not anymore, "You can't win against the police anymore".

"Judges do the Summary Judgment thing, and you're screwed, I'm still paying the bills on those cases, those clients didn't have any money."

"The only clients that can win are the rich ones, maybe having $100,000 to lay down for a retainer, and then its still a crap shoot. The poorer ones don't even have a chance."

"I'm lucky my career doing this is winding down. If I were starting ... my kind of work is drying up. I'm fortunate to have other things going."

As far as doing anything to piss off judges, or rocking the boat, lawyers won't even talk to you about that ...

Ones who I know that have, are still afraid of their own shadow.

Lawyers who break ranks with other lawyers get toasted. Lawyers who break ranks with police get toasted, arrested, disbarred, and either end up in prison or fearing it for the rest of your life. Piss off a judge and you'll never dig yourself out of that hole ...

stevengerickson@yahoo.com

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