Contact

Wisconsin:
1-920-847-2311

Illinois:
1-312-346-9336

Navigation
Powered by Squarespace
Thursday
Mar312011

BIDDING FOR LEGAL SERVICES

In a recent Wall Street Journal, there is an article relating to the start up of a new website where potential clients would post a legal matter on the internet and attorneys would then bid on it. The thought is that people could obtain legal services at a price they could afford.

This sounds like something one of the large insurance companies tried several years ago - they would post information on certain claims on the internet and then defense counsel would bid - the lowest bidder getsthe file. When my firm was approached, I emphatically declined. I under-stand that the practice was stopped before it really got underway.

While this sounds like a good idea from the consumer's point of view,there are a number of reasons why it is not.

1. How is the prospective client going to know anything about the qualifications of the attorney who bids?

2. Most an attorney-client relationships are based on a personal(face to face) relationship. Here neither party knows anything aboutthe other. Will the attorney follow through? Will the client pay?

3. What does the fact that an attorney will bid say about his competency?

I have always felt that permitting attorneys to advertise is demeaning tothe profession. Look at the medical profession. Do you see really competentphysicians touting their abilities in full page ads? Generally, I have found that the size of the ad is in direct inverse proportion to the abilitiesof the advertising attorney or firm. Small informational ads are fine -the entire back page of the telephone book?

Invitations to bid on legal services? Mark as "junk mail"!

Thursday
Mar312011

BIDDING ON THE INTERNET

BIDDING FOR LEGAL SERVICES

In a recent Wall Street Journal, there is an article relating to the start up of a new website where potential clients would post a legal matter on the internet and attorneys would then bid on it. The thought is that people could obtain legal services at a price they could afford.

This sounds like something one of the large insurance companies tried several years ago - they would post information on certain claims on the internet and then defense counsel would bid - the lowest bidder getsthe file. When my firm was approached, I emphatically declined. I under-stand that the practice was stopped before it really got underway.

While this sounds like a good idea from the consumer's point of view,there are a number of reasons why it is not.

1. How is the prospective client going to know anything about the qualifications of the attorney who bids?

2. Most an attorney-client relationships are based on a personal(face to face) relationship. Here neither party knows anything aboutthe other. Will the attorney follow through? Will the client pay?

3. What does the fact that an attorney will bid say about his competency?

I have always felt that permitting attorneys to advertise is demeaning tothe profession. Look at the medical profession. Do you see really competentphysicians touting their abilities in full page ads? Generally, I have found that the size of the ad is in direct inverse proportion to the abilitiesof the advertising attorney or firm. Small informational ads are fine -the entire back page of the telephone book?

Invitations to bid on legal services? Mark as "junk mail"!

Wednesday
May122010

Supreme Court Nomination

Now that President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan as his choice for the Supreme Court vacancy left by retiring John Paul Stevens, there is much discussion in the press as to the pro and cons of her lack of judicial experience. Although she has served as Dean of Harvard Law School and US Solicitor General, she has never been a judge. The last justices who had no prior judicial experience were Lewis Powell and William Rehnquist. Picking someone who has never been a judge may be a good move - it will give some perspective to the Court and perhaps a wider view than someone who may be set in prior judicial ways. We will see.
 
Little known fact: a Supreme Court Justice does not have to be an attorney? I can't think of another court of record where a lay person may sit as judge.

Tuesday
May112010

First Amendment and Contempt of Couort

May 11, 2010
 
In the Chicago Papers initially, and now we understand on National TV, plays out an interesting legal dramma involving some interesting questions:
 
In Judge Helen Rosenberg's Courtroom in Lake County, Illinois (Circuit Court of the 19th. Judicial Circuit) a young woman appeared (apparently as a witness, not as a party) clad in what Judge Rosenberg felt was inappropriate attire - specifically in a T shirt across the front of which was written "Pussy Rules - I have the pussy, I make the rules". Judge singled the girl out, found her in direct contempt of court, and sentenced her to 48 hours in the Lake County Jail.
 
Following the article in the Chicago Tribune, there were many comments - some highly critical of the Judge but many others supporting her actions. Questsion: Did the Judge over react?
 
On one hand, a person has the right to freely express ones self - basic First Amendment. On the other , our courts deserve respect. It has often been said that your are respecting the institution of the court - not the individual who happens to occupy the bench. In the 40 some odd years I have been practising law, I have seen courtroom attire on the part of some attorneys degenerate from a suit to a rumpled sports coat and a wrinkled paid of khakis. (I still wear a suit whenever I appear in Court, but I guess thats just me!)
 
My own opinion is that the best course of action open to the Court would be for the judge to quietly ask her bailiff to request the young woman to leave the courtroom. What do you think?
 
Incidently, it was just reported in this evenings news that the young woman has retained an attorney and is filing suit against the judge. Perhaps she found one with a rumpled sports coat!
 
 
 

Wednesday
Mar032010

Gun Control

Yesterday (Tuesday, March 2), the US Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of the City of Chicago's ordinance banning the ownership of hand guns. The indications seem to be that the Court will declare the ordinance unconstitutional. As most of you know, the Court has held unconstitutional the District of Columbia's ban on hand gun ownership - but D.C. is a federal jurisdiction. The question before the Court now is whether the second amendment is binding on the states through operation of the 14th. amendment? The indications are that the Court will hold that it is and declare the Chicago measure unconstitutional.

 

If the Chicago ordinance banning hand guns outright is struck down, the next question will become: how far can the states or local municipalities go in regulating hand guns? I would anticipate more litigation involving limits on hand guns until the courts come down with further guidelines. For instance, how will the so called "open carry" provisions fare?