Anonymous User wrote:
During OCI, we had one small plaintiff's / personal injury firm interview, and I went just because I got the offer and wanted to see everything available. I asked the guy, what makes a good plaintiff's attorney? He told me you have to get used to not trusting your client, knowing they are bullshitting you. I don't do personal injury plaintiff's work, (I defend against them on occassion), but I think I may have seen enough that I could make money doing plaintiff's work. You simply file a large volume of claims - discovery may show your client's case to be meritless, but guess what? This isn't a secret, but a $20,000 claim quickly becomes a settlement imperative for a corporate client cognizant of the mounting legal bills and the fact that driving the case to a decision on the merits will simply cost more than the settlement value. Maybe the one thing that sucks about my job is settling meritless claims because it is cheaper than defending. Goddamn do I hate seeing some sleazeball plaintiff completely full of shit (or really stupid) obtain a settlement simply because they were either (1) willing to straight lie to the court or (2) too stupid (brilliant?) to accept an earlier, cheaper settlement because they don't understand how little legal merit their case may have had. I mean, I came busting out of law school, a top notch legal researcher who finds joy in digging through caselaw until I find the obscure and completely on-point precedent applicable to our case, but it doesn't matter - the client wants to settle. I prefer the more commercial case, between two busniesses both run by assholes - at least when everyone's hands are a little bit dirty, the parties are willing to drive a case to decision on merit despite the mounting legal costs, because it is about fucking your competitor or getting revenge or sticking it to a suddenly deadbeat supplier / vendor / customer. In business, everyone comes to the table knowing they are gambling. In plaintiff's work, it pays to cheat, as the plaintiff has zero concern for reputation and losing exposes plaintiff (personally) to no risk. His attorneys may look bad, but that impact is lessened when you're running 10 cases through the motion call per day - if you dig deep enough, you find shit, and it eventually sticks, and despite what the Supreme Court says, companies are not people - they don't feel, and they are more willing to pay when they've fucked up than the private individual, as again, companies know they are gambling, but for the individual, it's personal. And the unscrupulous individual? That person knows not to flinch 'till they see the dollas.
I would do what I do for free if someone paid me well to do it.
Wow, this is quite a post. Some things to think about: yes, there are meritless cases, but there are also meritorious ones. Your mindset, which is shared by defendants and many judges, means that meritorious lawsuits are often settled for a fraction of real compensation - see, for example, Federal Rule 26, which basically encourages judges to broker settlements, which, by definition, underpay meritorious plaintiffs. I think you also look at risk aversion like it favors contingency fee plaintiffs, but you're at least slightly wrong and possibly looking in the wrong direction entirely: small-time plaintiffs are bullied into settling because $0 means the end of their life/family; although $500,000 means compensation, they will take $50,000 because it gets them through the year. Big companies can afford to play hardball. Finally, yes, companies end up paying out nuisance settlements, but perhaps that is a tax on doing business in an otherwise highly capitalist environment? In Europe large agency programs and social welfare deals with the same sorts of injuries that are only redressible in this country through the court system; there, companies pay this money in the form of higher taxes; here, it is paid to lawyers and litigants, some of which (unfortunately, but probably better than massive bureaocratic inefficiency) are meritless.