Thursday, February 13, 2014

How is it so many lawyers (60% of Senate and over 40% in House) "represent" you and me?

Recidivists (repeat criminal offenders) provide job security for members of the bar (judges, prosecutors, and trial lawyers) many of whom then proclaim a need for more judges to handle ensuing court backlogs. Taxpayers, of course, foot the bill.

Judge Ponsor’s WSJ opinion piece was published the day after Attorney General Holder called for repeal of laws prohibiting millions of felons from voting, Was it mere coincidence that two lawyers wish to be more lenient to convicted felons? While too many non-violent felons are incarcerated, too many violent recidivists are obviously not being being confined long enough.

The current administration in D.C. has more lawyers on its payroll (federal bureaucracy, the Cabinet, and tsars) than ever before. In fact, P.O.T.U.S., the Veep, Secretary of State, etc. are all lawyers. comfortable so far?

Upwards of 30,000 K-Street lobbyists are also lawyers (in the influential [$$$$] 4th branch of federal government).  What countries do they represent? What campaigns do they support? Why don't we know?

Do you automatically assume lawyers are society's 'good guys'?  Wrong! Vigilisa stopped tracking crimes like these because they are growing in frequency and magnitude -- she was completely overwhelmed!

Then, there are a growing number of purely criminal (I am above the law) incidents of lawyer crime like these.

Now, can you detect a very slight conflict of interest?  Hairdressers would be more representaive of the American public than lawyers. Wake up!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Inside the Lawyer-Political Complex

Lawyer Kickers pro bono reminds American voters of broad conflicts of interest, unique concentrations of power, and potential excesses of authority brandished by lawyers empowered by election to representative offices.

The latest testimony from a lawyer-lobbyist insider underscores our observations of the powerful, yet invisible, Lawyer Political Complex:
"Money is the basis of almost all relationships in D.C.,” he writes. “And, in a nutshell, this is why our political campaign system and DC’s mushrooming Permanent Class — who alternate between government jobs and lawyering, influence-peddling and finance — mean Wall Street always wins.”

Democrats, he argues, aren’t much different than Republicans when it comes to selling out. Connaughton describes the Washington taxonomy of the lobbyists, consultants and lawyers he calls “Professional Democrats.”

“If the Marine Corps’s hierarchy of allegiance is unit, corps, country, God, then the hierarchy for a Professional Democrat is current firm, former-elected-official boss, the congressional Democratic leadership, and the president (if he or she is a Democrat),” Connaughton writes. - Jeff Connaughton, a lawyer and Biden Senate staffer turned lobbyist,  author of “The Payoff,” Sept 2012;

And, here is Lawyer-Kickers pro bono's related retrospective:

May 26, 2005
Well-connected local people probably don't get prosecuted as much. That's just endemic in government, including lawyers and judges. People don't like to prosecute their friends. - Professor John Corkery of the James Madison Law School in Chicago

 July 22, 2006
Almost all leakers are lawyers. That's the bottom line. - Howell Raines, ex-New York Times executive editor, during discussion, Apsen Institute, Aspen Times, July 2,1 2006

 September 16, 2008
You’ve said that there are too many lawyers in the U.S. Why do you think that? Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court replied, I don’t mean to criticize lawyers, just the need for so many lawyers. Lawyers don’t dig ditches or build buildings. When a society requires such a large number of its best minds to conduct the unproductive enterprise of the law, something is wrong with the legal system. Scalia replied, I don’t mean to criticize lawyers, just the need for so many lawyers. Lawyers don’t dig ditches or build buildings. When a society requires such a large number of its best minds to conduct the unproductive enterprise of the law, something is wrong with the legal system. - in Parade Magazine’s Intelligence Report, 9-14-2008
Is there a role for politics in our judicial system? Scalia replied, None whatever. The absolute worst violation of the judge’s oath is to decide a case based on a partisan political or philosophical basis, rather than what the law requires. [ibid]

December 09, 2008
 Law Schools Do Not Seem to Compete for the Public's Benefit

November 16, 2009
 In the Public's Benefit - Installment 2009-4 update

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In the Public's Benefit - Installment 2011-1

Brooklyn, New York, lawyer Jason Goldfarb, 32, admitted today to taking part in what the U.S. says is one of three Galleon Group LLC insider-trading rings. Goldfarb, pled guilty to conspiracy and securities fraud before U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan in Manhattan.

Goldfarb (Brooklyn Law School) was accused of conspiring with ex-Galleon trader Zvi Goffer to pay tens of thousands of dollars to Arthur Cutillo and Brien Santarlas, lawyers at Boston-based Ropes & Gray LLP, for information about transactions their firm was working on.

As part of the plea agreement, Goldfarb won’t be prosecuted further by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, except for any potential criminal tax violations, according to a copy of the pact.

Goldfarb's plea raised to 20 the number of defendants who've done so in what authorities call the largest hedge fund insider trading case ever.

Goldfarb was arrested in 2009 in connection with the Galleon Group hedge fund prosecution. Galleon's founder, Raj Rajaratnam, is currently trial now. Prosecutors claim the Wall Street insider used "corporate spies" to get rich off inside trades. He insists he was merely a savvy investor.

According to Wikipedia (today), Federal Election Commission records indicate Rajaratnam made over $75,000 in political contributions in the past five years. He has also contributed to the Democratic National Committee and various campaigns on behalf of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Charles Schumer, and Robert Menendez.

....................................................^ ^ ^

Why pick on law schools?

Law schools do not seem to compete for the public's benefit; school reputations currently connote to the public vague expectations of how brazen and arrogant their graduates may behave, rather than the innate integrity of their respective graduates.

Improving law school admissions standards, although certainly in the public interest, is highly unlikely. After all, law schools are not military academies and most lawyers were never Eagle Scouts nor recipients of Girl Scout equivalent Gold Awards.

Why pick on lawyers?

A disproportionate percentage of law graduates (hardly 2% of the entire workforce) are currently elected to over 20% of public offices (including 60% of the U.S, Senate and 100% of the U.S. Supreme Court). This presents conflicts of interest and publicly unintended concentrations of authority. Combined with self-serving laws tailored to give incumbents subtle advantages over challengers, the country is in growing peril of a permanent political class.

Meanwhile, proceeds of the underlying crimes are certainly adequate to provide corruptive influences in government at every level.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Flagrant Abuse and/or Quid Pro Quo?

Would this payback smell so bad for a profession other than lawyers? There can be little doubt that it would.


Of the twenty top donors to President Obama during his 2008 election cycle, 4 organizations were law firms who funnelled money from the organizations' PACs, partners or employees and subsidiaries. Each of the four law firms contributed in excess of $490,000 according to
In addition, 4 universtiies with renowned law schools (Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and the University of California) contributed over $520,000 each. Finally, our US Government, not quite as rife with atttorneys at the time as today, funnelled about $500,000.

In summary, 8 of Obama's top 20 donors including the largest (the University of California with $1,591,395) are tied overtly to the legal profession.

Middle Class Quid Pro Quo?

The Department of Labor has more attorneys than any other department besides the Department of Justice, sources note. VP Biden says that this new ABA government program is part of his Middle Class Initiative.

In an unprecedented and controversial move, the White House has launched a new program at the Department of Labor which will refer workers who havecomplaints about their bosses to a toll free number at the American Bar Association, where they can get a lawyer to work on their case on a contingency fee basis. ...

The White House has also enlisted the ABA to launch a toll-free hotline number at the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help homeowners with foreclosure issues, as well as a separate ABA toll free number to help veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs, too.

Vice President Joe Biden noted that the lawyers will be working on a contingency fee basis, and not pro bono. Joy, middle class!


Monday, January 17, 2011

No Disbarment Applies #2

Since May 26, 2005, the following quotation has appeared above in Lawyer Kickers pro bono's header:
Well-connected local people probably don't get prosecuted as much. That's just endemic in government, including lawyers and judges. People don't like to prosecute their friends. - Professor John Corkery of the James Madison Law School in Chicago
By way of a possible example, last month we posted No Disbarment Applies, a rather convoluted result by the Board on Professional Responsibility on whether a lawyer who, by pleading guilty in 2005 to making a false entry in financial records (a federal record-keeping crime), violated D.C.’s moral turpitude law. The board found on December 09, 2010, that violating the federal law did not, on its face, run afoul of the D.C. moral turpitude law.

Any citizen harboring reservations about that outcome, may be a bit more concerned with one handed down more recently.

January 13, 2011 D.C. Appeals Court: Attorney May Have Stolen Funds, But Doesn’t Deserve Disbarment, in which Exceptional Circumstances were cited in accordance with:

We have said that even where a lawyer has engaged in intentional misappropriation of funds, a sanction less than disbarment may be appropriate "in extraordinary circumstances," Addams, 579 A.2d at 191, or "[o]nly in the most stringent of extenuating circumstances," id. at 193 (quoted in In re Pennington,921 A.2d 135, 141 (D.C. 2007)). Previously we have found "extraordinary circumstances" only where the respondent's misconduct was shown to be caused by a disabling addiction, such as chronic alcoholism, see In re Kersey,520 A.2d 321, 326-27 (D.C. 1987), or depression, see In re Verra,932 A.2d 503, 505 (D.C. 2007). We have not otherwise defined what will constitute "extraordinary circumstances," but have noted that "it is appropriate for the court to consider the surrounding circumstances regarding the misconduct and to evaluate whether the mitigating factors are highly significant and [whether] they substantially outweigh any aggravating factors such that the presumption of disbarment is rebutted." Addams, 579 A.2d at 195.

Lawyer Hewett, who was represented by Ronald Douglas, assistant dean for student services at North Carolina Central University School of Law, argued that disbarment was not appropriate because there was no “evidence of fraud, self-dealing, misrepresentation, conflict of interest, or any pattern of inappropriate conduct.”

“[A]lthough we agree with Bar Counsel that Willie Hewett intentionally misappropriated funds, we conclude that the facts of this case – in particular that the motivation for the misappropriation was protection of the client’s interest – present the type of “extraordinary circumstances” in which disbarment is not the appropriate sanction,” Judge Vanessa Ruiz wrote.

RESULT: A six-month suspension stayed in favor of probation was determined more fitting punishment than outright disbarment. Ruiz also ordered Hewett to reimburse Jewell’s estate in the amount of interest accrued while he was in possession of the misappropriated funds.

Lawyer Kickers pro bono sees a pattern of inappropriate conduct. Consider whether a neighbor, relative or non-lawyer of the veteran (client) had committed the same misappropriation of funds from the veteran as the lawyer and claimed the same extraordinary intention: to deplete the veteran's bank account to maintain Medicaid eligibility.

a) If the extraordinary circumstances rule is unobtainable by non-lawyers, separate law applied to lawyers only seems to hold their misappropriations above the law applicable to ordinary citizens.

Or, on the contrary...

b) If courts allow the lawyer's precedent to apply to similar misappropriations by ordinary citizens, the decision creates a defense for theft because fraud, self-dealing, misrepresentation, and conflict of interest are difficult to prove.

Either way, the lawyer's conduct seems to involve an inappropriate pattern for the community by an officer of the court (role model of respect for the law).


Thursday, January 06, 2011

Latest Leaker

Back in 2006, we had quoted Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, who shared some tantalizing, insiders' knowledge with an audience at the Aspen Institute, an international organization dedicated to "fostering enlightened leadership, the appreciation of timeless ideas and values, and open-minded dialogue on contemporary issues."

When one audience member asked Raines about the role of media leaks, Raines offered up some arcane information of his own::

"Almost all leakers are lawyers. That's the bottom line."

We have not attempted to compile the law degree status of every leaker since 2006, but we have checked the latest:

WASHINGTON- Thu Jan 6, 2011 4:27pm EST by James Vicini (Reuters) Ex-CIA officer charged with giving reporter secrets - A former CIA officer was arrested on Thursday on charges of illegally disclosing national defense information about Iran to a New York Times reporter who wrote a book.

Sterling, a lawyer who worked at the CIA from 1993 to 2002, was arrested in St. Louis near where he lives.From 1998 through mid-2000, he was assigned to a classified clandestine program that conducted intelligence activities about the weapons capabilities of certain countries, the Justice Department said in announcing the indictment against Sterling.

Perhaps the CIA's Security Section should take more of an interest in reading our 2006 posting. Oh, well. We realized it is currently politically incorrect to avoid grief by rational means. Unfortunately, resultant grief always adds job security for members of the bar.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

No Disbarment Applies

Since the May 26, 2005, inception of Lawyer Kickers pro bono, the following quotation has appeared above in our header:
Well-connected local people probably don't get prosecuted as much. That's just endemic in government, including lawyers and judges. People don't like to prosecute their friends. - Professor John Corkery of the James Madison Law School in Chicago

Readers may find the following outcome interesting, if not credulity-stretching.

It involves a lawyer who, by pleading guilty in 2005 to making a false entry in financial records, avoided retrial on securities and bank fraud charges. Adelphia Communications Corporation founded by his father went bankrupt after the father and another son pilfered millions of dollars from the company and hid its debt from investors, prosecutors had alleged.

Father and son Timothy were convicted in June 2005. The father was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Timothy received a 20-year sentence. They lost an appeal in 2007.

Following the plea of the second son, a lawyer named Michael, the Court of Appeals in 2005 ordered the Board on Professional Responsibility to investigate whether he had violated D.C.’s moral turpitude law when he committed the federal record-keeping crime. The board found that violating the federal law did not, on its face, run afoul of the D.C. moral turpitude law, and referred the case to a hearing committee for full investigation to determine whether relevant facts supported a finding of moral turpitude.

The Court of Appeals found that “a formal contested hearing” by a hearing committee to determine whether the lawyer had committed moral turpitude “would be of little benefit.” It found that since the federal criminal proceeding had not determined that the lawyer-son knowingly signed false documents (a finding needed for moral turpitude), a separate inquiry by a hearing committee was not necessary.

On December 09, 2010, before the hearing committee conducted its full investigation, the D.C. Bar Counsel reached an agreement with Michael to a one year’s suspension of his law license.

OUTCOME (more): Rather than being disbarred, lawyer-son Michael was merely sanctioned for one year.