In article <4541a1$...
@cs.tulane.edu (Frank Silbermann) writes:
> Yesterday, I received an offer of membership in
> HALT: Americans for Legal Reform.
> I'm considering joining this organization, but first I'd like to know
> whether HALT is a real political-action group, or whether they're merely
> a business for re-selling information easily obtainable in bookstores.
> Their literature says:
> 1) Americans spend $30,000,000,000 per year on damage lawsuits
> -- and collect less than half that amount. (Lawyers and court
> costs take the rest.)
Could well be true. Problem is how to change that. If there is a
dispute (and who can agree on most of these questions), odds are the
other guy is going to get someone to advocate his situation, and you
may get someone to advocate yours. Industrial compensation, for
instance (workman's comp.)--in theory is almost free of legal actions.
In practice, employers have teams of doctors to minimize payments to
workers, and attorneys to do the same--and if you're injured, you'd
better be prepared to match them.
> 2) Because lawyers "police" themselves, _ninety percent_ of the complaints
> filed against lawyers are dismissed.
Undoubtedly true. 90% may be a bit low, in fact. I have no idea of what
percent are just someone griping--but any attorney will tell you (1)
the number of attorneys who ought to be disbarred for simple
incompetence exceeds the number who *are* disbarred for that by
100-to-1 and (2) it helps if the attorney accused has some clout in the
Bar. Bluntly, no one gets disbarred for being incompetent. Disbarments
are for outright fraud, diddling with the trust account, or getting
convicted of a felony.
> 3) In most states, bar associations conduct their complaint hearings
> in secret. If you want to know if your lawyer has ever had a complaint
> filed against him, the bar association won't tell you.
Probably very true.
> And, in many
> states, telling someone else you're bringing a complaint against a
> lawyer can make you liable for a fine and imprisonment.
Certainly untrue. I *think* we still have first amendment freedom of
speech. The last is hype--the second is a problem, but the cure is
unsure--the rest are correct. That's my view, anyways.