We are regularly criticized for our jaded outlook that
many lawyers are money-grubbing opportunists.
They graduate from law school with a license to sue and, (at least in this climate), often without a job. A whole industry exists to hunt down and locate vulnerable targets and then shake them down with multi-million dollar lawsuits filed in the superior court of their state. As long as they can afford the hundred or two hundred dollar filing fee, any lawyer can sue anybody!
We have long taken the position that our system is out of control and that the government (including the bar associations, the judicial system, and the legislatures) cannot and will not police ours out of control system. Just look at the political contributors: One of the biggest (if not “The Biggest”) contributor to political candidates is The Trial Lawyer’s Association (an organization supporting the contingent fee professional bounty hunters).
Litigation is really out of control. We see it on a micro-scale (most of our clients have been caught, at one time or another, in the system). Many have been hit with some sort of shakedown lawsuit.
One client, who has taken 22 companies public, settled
a slip and fall at a “roach coach” outside one of his factories for $7,000. One week later, he was sued by 11 other employees who happened to slip and fall.
Another client, a well known and wealthy doctor, was sued by his girlfriend because she developed a cold sore on her lips after going out on a date (he settled for more than $50,000, then implemented an asset protection plan).
We are all plagued by opportunistic litigators seeking out “dog bite” litigation opportunities (equivalent to the depression era shakedown from the thugs offering protection… “pay me or pay the price” is their mantra).
Our greatest joy at TrustMakers is ensuring that they don’t get paid when they sue our clients.
Recently the Los Angeles Times finally ran a front-page
article on this pet peeve. The article, entitled “Lawyers Who Sue to Settle,” pointed out that a sub-species of lawyers exists to “blanket the business world with hundreds of lawsuits at a time, often making claims that appear fanciful, even absurd.
These lawyers make their money on settlements paid by defendants who just want to make the suits go away.”
They call themselves “bounty hunters.” One lawyer interviewed said that it is his “job to go out there and hunt these people down.” Our court system has become huge and out of control (or, more precisely, uncontrolled) shakedown system (and yes, we know that there are legitimate lawsuits).
A “jury of your peers” is a thing of the past. The jury is likely to be composed of people on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder; and, when given the tools to redistribute wealth from a person with reachable wealth to somebody less fortunate, will often take the opportunity to do so. This makes litigation too risky.
The bottom line is that if you have reachable wealth it will be attacked. There is little to do to stop the attack other than our brand of self-help tort reform which makes it simply too expensive to pursue litigation against you.
When the bottom fishing bounty hunter lawyers realize that they are likely to get little, if anything, from their efforts they often abandon their ill-conceived pursuits of the easy buck. None of them are motivated by conscience. They are like common burglars and go after the easy prey: An unprotected consumer.