Attorneys and the law would seem to go hand in hand. At least theoretically. However, upon closer examination, attorneys and the law have very little in common nowadays, unless of course you’re talking about the attorneys’ propensity for using the law to their best advantage. If you look closely, you’ll discover that the legal concepts of right and wrong have sadly been replaced by the unwritten law of who’s got the best attorney.
Where our proud country was originally founded upon the venerable precepts of the law of the land and law and order, these time-honored principles have been methodically replaced by the law of the lawyers ‘ and law and odor. How did we, as a nation, fall into this insidious trap?
Regardless of whether we like it or not, attorneys have meticulously manipulated the legal system to fit their own self serving needs. The rules of the game, the unwritten law if you will, heavily favor the attorneys and why shouldn’t they?
After all, who ultimately makes the rules that the rest of us have to pay, sorry – I mean play, by? Politicians do, of course. Want to hazard a wild guess at what is the single largest profession of politicians prior to them taking office? The legal profession, of course.
Not coincidentally, the unwritten law dictates that the lawyers make the money as well. There has never been a better time to make money in the legal profession than right here and now. Regardless of whether the attorneys gig their clientele by the hour or work out a contingent fee arrangement to skin their clients, lawyers are making money like it’s going out of style.
Contingent fee attorneys, those who take cases and get paid a portion of the damages or settlement awarded, in many instances rake in over 50% of the money received.
Let’s get one thing straight here – the money is always awarded to the client and not the attorneys involved, since it is the client who has the injury or grievance. Attorneys keeping 30% to 60% or more of any award or settlement has become commonplace and as a result has spawned a wave of unprecedented growth in the personal injury field (see Personal Injury Lawsuits and Legal Information).
Crafty attorneys (is there really any other kind?) have meticulously fostered a sue unto others mentality among Americans, where we are now quick to run to the attorney over even the most trivial of disputes or inconveniences. Our legal system is in shambles, in no small part due to unscrupulous attorneys and their unwritten law.
So what are some of the other components of the unwritten law of attorneys? Well, here goes.
WARNING: Dealing with lawyers may be hazardous to your health – both in financial and emotional terms. If you have already dealt with a shady lawyer (double negative?), you may have sudden flashbacks upon reading the Unwritten Laws of Lawyers. As a precaution, you might want to have a few aspirins handy.
Unwritten law rule #1: The attorney always get paid.
Attorneys, by clogging the courts with millions of frivolous lawsuits and dragging case for years on end, have made litigation a very expensive proposition in America. Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit – win, lose or draw – the attorneys get paid. Always.
In Chapter Three of our book, Wake Up and Smell the Lawyers, we talk about how getting paid is the name of the legal game (click here to review excerpts from the book).
Unwritten law rule #2: Attorneys hear, see and speak no evil of other attorneys.
Attorneys by and large, even the good attorneys who play by the rules and conduct themselves in an honest and forthright fashion, are reticent to speak out about the rogue attorneys who wantonly abuse the legal system and give the legal profession such a bad name.
Rather than risk being blackballed or ostracized by their attorney cronies by crying foul, attorneys hold their nose and turn a blind eye towards the nefarious shenanigans of the less than honorable attorneys in their midst. This plays right into the hands of the dirty dealing attorneys.
Unwritten law rule #3: Attorneys can make your life a living hellhole – and all you can do is sit there and take it.
America’s legal system by design is very one-sided in nature, with the attorneys pulling most of the strings.
Let’s look at some of the unilateral powers attorneys hold over us all. You have to swear to tell the truth and the attorneys don’t. You have to show respect or risk being cited with contempt of court and the attorneys don’t. You have to abide by specific timetables while the attorneys can drag things out and tie you up in litigation for years.
An attorney can accuse you of everything under the sun, trash your reputation and drag your good name into the dirt. And all you can do is sit there and watch it happen.
Unwritten law rule #4: Right and wrong are no longer cut and dried propositions in America’s legal system.
Attorneys, depending on what side of the fence their clients are sitting, find the concepts of right and wrong somewhat troublesome and annoying. They prefer to play in the gray areas of the law, where these nebulous concepts don’t get in their way.
Unwritten law rule #5: You don’t have to be wrong to be sued.
Even if you haven’t done anything wrong (after all, what’s right and wrong got to do with the law?), you can still get hammered by a lawsuit. And once you’re hit with a lawsuit, you have no choice but to fight the lawsuit or you lose by default. Fighting lawsuits in America is a very expensive proposition indeed. Attorneys fees of $100, $200 or even more per hour are not uncommon – and the hours can mount up quickly.
A frivolous lawsuit filed against you by an attorney representing someone who holds a grudge, is mad at you or is just looking for you to toss them a bone, can land you smack dab in the poor house.
By the time you ultimately prevail and win the frivolous case (if you can call it winning), you may have already lost everything you own. Come on, for crying out loud, why should a lawsuit cost a person his or her life savings in legal fees, even when that individual did nothing wrong? It shouldn’t, but in the sue happy society in which we live, it happens every day.
Does anyone see a problem here? Not the attorneys, that’s for sure.
Unwritten law rule #6: You don’t have to be right to win.
Again, winning in court (or settling out of court) does not necessarily have anything to do with being right. Frivolous lawsuits, by nature, are lawsuits that are filed for no other reason than to extort money from innocent victims.
Since attorneys know full well that many people who are sued will elect to settle rather than go through the hassle, time and ungodly expense associated with litigation, many attorneys file lawsuits that have nothing to do with being ‘in the right.’
Unwritten law rule #7: Lawyers should help stomp out personal responsibility in America.
Personal responsibility is the bane of a large number of attorneys who seek to make victims of us all. The more people who eschew personal responsibility and are willing to blame everyone else for all of their troubles, the better it gets for the attorneys.
Lawyers have long known that these ‘point the finger at the other guy’ individuals make super clients.
Unwritten law rule #8: If at all possible, make a mountain out of a molehill.
The unwritten law dictates that if there is a way for the attorneys to take a trivial matter and blow it up into a class action lawsuit where the really big bucks can be made, then the attorneys are obligated to do so (click here to check out our class action lawsuit update section).
Unwritten law rule #9: Lawyers must band together and fight tooth and nail to avoid any form of lawsuit reform in America.
Attorneys don’t want anyone messing with the way the legal system is set up right now. With the cards so heavily stacked in their favor, who could hardly blame them?
Well there you have it – the unwritten laws of the legal profession. While you’ll never hear an attorney openly admit that these unwritten laws exist, if you ever get embroiled in a lawsuit (and we hope that you won’t) you’ll find out in an unpleasant way that these unwritten laws most certainly apply to a great number of attorneys in America.
If you have additional suggestions to add to the unwritten laws of attorneys, please feel free to e-mail them to us. Simply click e-mail unwritten laws. If your suggestion makes the grade, it will be posted under Attorneys and the Unwritten Law.