Monday, January 25, 2010

Pro Bono Scam

As tuition skyrockets and law school diploma mills continue to blossom across the nation, American Bar Association President Carolyn Lamm has urged the organization and law firms to "think creatively" about how they might lead efforts to develop ways to employ lawyers hit by job cuts. Actually regulating the scam schools and the bogus post-graduate career statistics, and actually doing something about the endless supply of jobless graduates being pumped out into the job market is clearly off the table. The bloated law school administrators that sit on the ABA regulating committees will have none of it.

The ABA and the legal establishment have attempted to foster an illusion of an imaginary, nonexistent demand. The solo scam cheerleaders (most notably, Susan Cartier Liebel) are always trying to convince naive law graduates that there is some great untapped need for lower income legal services. She says this despite the fact that legal service organizations are inundated with the resumes of the thousands of unemployed lawyer grads who are willing to work for free. Even deferred associates and those short on hours are in a mad competition to "help the poor" and look busy.

It comes as no surprise then when I came across the following article published last weekend in the San Francisco Chronicle. Looks like Pillsbury Winthrop's pro-bono program has the city in quite an uproar. In a city with no shortage of homeless, the firm has been accused of using scorched-earth tactics to fight for the right of some scumbag to litter the city with 11 abandoned vehicles. On top of the litter and declining property values, the taxpayers have had to spend $71,320 to defend this matter. City residents have been pleading with the law firm to stop assisting with this vexatious litigation. "This guy is out of control," said local resident Ken Stewart. "It's unbelievable. We need some help on this." Perhaps, next time I head out that way, I could get this guy to park one of his vehicles on Carolyn Lamm's front lawn.



Anonymous said...

Those at the top benefit. The law firm looks good for doing the work and the associates get federal court training on the city taxpayer dime. The middle class has to suffer as they have to put up with the litter and nonsense of this character.

Anonymous said...

Just check out this pic of our ABA President Carolyn Lamm toasting the accreditation of another dozen 4th-Tier Law Schools:

Anonymous said...

Let them eat cake! That is a nice palace Ms. Lamm lives in. No defecating bums in her gated community neighborhood.

"We snapped this at 12:02 AM January 1 of ABA president Carolyn Lamm at her DC home. As if hosting a flawless sit down dinner for 50 doesn’t prove her organizational skills, she continues until August to serve as activist CEO of the 400,000 member association with a budget of $200 million and staff of 1,000."

Anonymous said...

law truly is for losers.


JPM said...

I just got the Boston bar Journal's lastest magazine. A new President has taken over and pumps out 4 pages of drivel:

1. praising the outgoing President;
2. lecturing us about Pro Bono and how great Big Law LLCs pro bono program is;
3. Praising and requesting more "diversity initiatives" and other pc bs.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention that Lamm was a former GC at a Fortune 100 company.

It's the out of touch penny pincher clients at the large Corporations, like Lamm that are driving this and run the ABA.

These are the most useless, self engratiating pigs on the planet.
The ABA is full the assholes, who are driving the push to outsource and gut the legal profession.
Since TTT losers like us don't count, they can effortlessy encourage us to work for free while they outsource our jobs to a third world slum.

Evil, evil people.

Anonymous said...

The bum gets free health care.

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Anonymous said...

Screening clients is incredibly important and even more so with pro bono cases. They can truly be nightmares if you have a bad client who won't listen to advice, thinks they have a case when the law is unequivocally against them, thinks judges ruling against them shows bias or corruption, blames everyone without taking responsibility for their own actions, etc.

Taking one of those clients on a pro bono basis is asking for trouble especially since cost is no longer a limitation to endless litigation.

Anonymous said...

ummm so let me get this straight, some first tier supposedly "smartest guys in the room" firm can't figure this one out? Yet they want to bill out at 400-1,000 dollars an hour?

Anonymous said...

On a related note, ah, the job postings that target deferred hires. It's kind of like watching the geeks get their hopes up when they hear rumors that the head cheerleader and the quarterback might be having relationship problems.
"Ooh, she said 'hi' to me once!"

Yes, yes, "please come and sit at our table at lunch since the meat head that you're dating is being a jerk and isn't treating you right. I only sit with Cindy because she has nowhere else to sit and we don't want to be mean or anything."

Anonymous said...

The ABA is shooting itself in the foot with this garbage...why don't they do the obvious...shut down the bottom 1/3rd of all law schools, raise standards to where they were up until late 80's; take the LSAT curve ack to where it should be, quit sucking the affirmative action crap for the appearnace of diversity etc.; and just only allow the best and the brightest, those who have actually eraned on merit, were not on the grade inflation train, and who have a real education...rather than some PC theme and variation on what makes the ABA look does no one any good to offer a just produces many more unmotivated, not particularly innately bright nor creative, who have nothing better to do....except take their parents' money or allow themselves to go into debt further....the ABA should do something wise, not PC correct for itself.......they probabl7y would run themselves out of a job, do nothing will happen probably....they are supposed to be effecgive enforcers, not axx kissers.

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Anonymous said...

interesting series of posts - as an experienced and employed attorney for nearly two decades, i would have disagreed with the article and many of the comments, as pro bono work has been a large part of my practice, and what i believed was a valuable service to the community -

unfortunately, after giving my services away for more than ten years to a "qualified" client, after i was told the client had recently received a substantial amount of money, i stated i could not provide more pro bono services - no problem, as i would now be paid for my services - after nearly 20 hours of work, the client failed to pay me, after swearing to me i would get paid -

outraged, i believed this was a valid debt, and told the client i would start collections - client immediately filed a bar complaint, which stated i had done nothing but diservices for all the years of my free services - 1 year later, the bar is still investigating - remember, i've received $0, and the client came back year after year

i know this is an extreme example, but i learned several things - (i) i will never again do pro bono work, due to the liability, and the potential to get scammed; and (ii) i will never pursue a client again for fees, because it is not worth a potential bar complaint

the law is the only place where this absurd and hurtful series of events will be tolerated and even encouraged by the bar - all any client needs to know is to immediately start a bar complaint whenever they don't want to pay - all they have to say is how confused they were made by the bully attorney, no matter how absurd that may be

beware . . .

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