Guard Yourself Against Lawyers

One bill a 60 year old lady has been paying each month is a lawyers fee, and she’s been paying it for four years now. Her attorneys fees added up quickly when she was fighting with the state compensation fund office to receive her $101 monthly disability payment. In that same state, a disabled miner has been paying his attorney a monthly fee for the past ten years, according to a local newspaper. The attorney represented the miner in a case that awarded the miner $134 a month pension payment.

These are people who needed representation but could not afford exorbitant legal fees. One case showed a couple who received welfare. The husband was bedridden because of his cancer. The real problem of legal fees isn’t only one that applies to the poor. Those in the middle class are greatly affected, as well.

As pointed out in his book about lawyers, one particular author has stated that the middle class is the perfect target to victimize because they have money and assets but nobody to represent this class in the state legislature. It is interesting to note that this class also gives us the most lawyers, so it would be interesting to psychoanalzye the situation, according to the author.

Lawyers usually charge hourly fees. According to one lawyer, who specializes in compensation cases, told us that doctors and plumbers are paid. Lawyers should be, too. No one would argue that lawyers work for free. But, how long is it ethical to charge a percentage of an award? Sometimes the fees that lawyers charge are for a lifetime, even if they’ve only provided services for a divorce, a probate will, or a personal injury case.

Money has been stolen from the accounts of children and widows whose money was entrusted to attorneys to keep safe for when they need it. Instead of just stealing the money, some lawyers just overcharge for their work. In one case, two lawyers acquired almost 60 percent of a huge estate over a five year period in legal fees. They were assigned as trustees for the estate of a man whom the courts considered incompetent and unable to handle his own affairs. The partners involved in this case were ordered to make restitution to the estate for the monies they took. Another lawyer, who was a bit unusual, brought the case against the original lawyers. He was the only lawyer who would take the case.

The media essentially contributes and encourages these improper and unethical dealings by only superficially treating the court system and the information as news sources. Fees given guardians and lawyers are certainly newsworthy, but are generally ignored. Local courts have this data available to the public. The bar associations also do not discourage these types of practices within the field. Bar associations actively promote attorney-client privilege and deter interference by third parties. They do not hesitate to slap down any negative attitude toward the legal profession, should it be called out in the media.

Some lawyers will only take a percentage of the settlement as payment, though it is common practice to charge an hourly fee. The bar association supports this arrangement, as well. This is known as a contingent fee. The lawyer will then get a percentage of the award, should the case be won. Most personal injury suits give the lawyer twenty-five to fifty percent of the winnings.

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