Plaintiffs’ lawyers

Ed. note: Frank H. Wu is the Chancellor and Dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He shares some of his thoughts about legal education and the legal profession here on Above the Law from time to time.

I was talking to a reporter the other day about changes within the legal profession. She had called me to ask what types of jobs were opening up. I disappointed her. She wanted specialties offering positions that were sexy, new, and numerous.

I explained there were indeed more jobs. But I did not know any of them that satisfied all of her criteria.

There were many possibilities for her article. None of them were everything she was looking for.

That would be true for the individuals obtaining those roles as well. I recall a former colleague who used to say in response to the extravagant expectations that young people express about their careers: “That’s why we call it ‘work.’” She meant that there isn’t any reason to believe it will be fun. It is more likely to be boring, stressful, or both boring and stressful by turns if not simultaneously.

By the journalist’s standards, unless it is sexy, new and numerous, it does not register at all. That isn’t the best understanding of the universe of possibilities. Law is not intrinsically sexy….

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Jamie Casino has been on a roll. First he beat insurance companies with a sledgehammer from what appeared to be the set of Book of Eli, and then he forever answered the question, “What if Metallica made a personal injury lawyer ad?” — in a Super Bowl commercial that went viral.

He’s really raised his game. I mean, he didn’t always make commercials out of smoke pots and awesome.

And now he’s hit another milestone. Because the sign of a truly great artist is not the work of art itself, it’s inspiring others…

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It will likely warm the cockles of many a Biglaw heart to hear that a bunch plaintiffs’ attorneys got smacked around by a federal court for trying to steal funds from Uncle Sam. They may beat your clients — and deservedly so, since your clients were totally poisoning people — but at least they won’t be getting away with their fat paychecks. Bask in that satisfaction as you go back to your less lucrative life.

If you want to know exactly how these lawyers did it (so you know what not to do, of course), then read on.

Or if you just want to point and laugh at the irony of public interest plaintiffs’ attorneys getting tagged for failing to pay their fair share to the public coffers, you can read on for that too….

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If you’re looking for an attorney to smite your enemies with the power of Thor, we have your man.

One lawyer vows to “pound money out of big insurance companies” on your behalf, and he’s willing to provide a visual demonstration. In a new television commercial, Georgia attorney Jamie Casino takes a hammer to those insurance companies threatening to deny plaintiffs their just compensation for everything from car accidents to dog bites.

And he dresses like a badass while doing it, too…

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The law firm of Seyfarth Shaw, known for its labor and employment expertise, just released its tenth annual Workplace Class Action Litigation Report. The report details the important trends in workplace litigation going into 2014 and analyzes “1,123 class action rulings on a circuit-by-circuit and state-by-state basis.”

The verdict, in a nutshell, is that the Supreme Court has bent over backward to protect businesses from these suits, but they still come up… and one category of workplace suit is even growing exponentially. Any guesses?

So what are businesses going to face out there this year?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Greatest Risk For Workplace Lawsuits In 2014 Remains ‘Doing Illegal Stuff’”

In a sad yet crazy story, a law firm partner was shot and killed after barricading himself in his luxury condo’s lobby and opening fire on the police. Very few details are available at the time. Indeed, what remotely comprehensible motive could there be for building a mini-fortress in your lobby and baiting the police into a firefight.

Making matters worse, the partner’s young daughter was in the lobby the whole time while he embarked on the strange behavior that ultimately led to his death….

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The kind of person who makes the rules about lawyer advertising through text messages.

When I find myself pontificating on lawyer propriety, you know things are bad. But a new ruling from the Ohio Supreme Court leaves me with no choice. Ohio has decided that it’s okay for lawyers to text message accident victims to advertise their services.

Can you imagine sitting in a hospital, recovering from injuries, and then getting a text message from an unknown number: “R U OK? I can get U $$$. I sue ppl 4 U!”

We live in a world where the Ohio Supreme Court said that such solicitations are “helpful.” In other news, we live in a world where old judges who don’t know what the f**k they’re talking about get to make the rules about technology they don’t understand….

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Stanley M. Chesley

People have strong opinions about Stan Chesley, the high-profile, hugely successful plaintiffs’ lawyer — or former plaintiffs’ lawyer, since he recently got disbarred in Kentucky and gave up his law license in Ohio (in a retirement application that was notarized by his wife, federal judge Susan Dlott). Here are some choice comments about Chesley, nicknamed the “Prince of Torts” and “Master of Disaster”:

  • “[A]n opportunist and just a nasty son of a bitch.”
  • “[W]hat [Chesley] does is evil.”
  • “The ultimate grotesque, exaggerated perversion of what it means to be a lawyer.”
  • “He has balls as big as brass bells.”

And those bells are still ringing. Stan Chesley might not be back in the courtroom, but he’s back in the headlines in Ohio….

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He just had his boat shot up and had a terrorist live in it for a day. If the dude wants an upgraded boat, let’s get the guy a boat without terrorist blood in it.

John Phillips, a Florida personal injury attorney, offering commentary on the quest to get David Henneberry of Watertown, Massachusetts, a new boat. Phillips plans to send Henneberry $1,000 for a new boat — after all, the bullet-riddled boat that once housed suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will probably be held as evidence while the investigation unfolds.

Melvyn Weiss, founder of the famous (or infamous) plaintiffs’ firm Milberg LLP, and the man who put the “klass” in class action litigation, landed in hot water back in December when cops pulled him over on suspicion of driving under the influence.

The 77-year-old lawyer was still serving out the last couple months of probation stemming from his 2008 guilty plea for paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs. Now the judge is calling Mel Weiss back into court to figure out what to do about this violation of Weiss’s probation.

But in the meantime, we can get a giggle out of the alleged details of Weiss’s arrest….

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