Here’s our email exchange (link is back up!). Love the vocabulary though. So far, some good words I learned:
ad hominem – arising or appealing to emotions
calumny – false and slanderous statement
pernicious – having a harmful effect, especially in a subtle way (from one of Fitzpatrick’s earlier emails)
For all the SAT vocab workout, I have to say that it’s really sad to see this happen in the US – such blatant disregard and disrespect for law and its spirit. And looking for how law is enforced, it seems more complicated than it should be (i.e. litigation).
I am going to go on a limb and assume that Fitzpatrick and Myers are “only doing their job”. Seems like a reasonable assumption given that they’ve been at it for so long. So what’s the problem?
Well, the problem seems to be that, in the US legal system, litigation attorneys assume their clients’ position stepping well within (beyond?) the gray area of ethics. This seems partially by design due to the adversarial system and partially because seems to be little consequence to lawyers from behaving unethically. What’s the worst for Fitzpatrick and Davis Malm & D’Agostine? Loss of a client? A 6 month vacation? (that’s the longest attorney suspension I am aware of for violation of fiduciary duties) Compare that to the money coming in…
The consequence is miscarriage of justice, waste of judicial resources and client money, etc. And it’s order for the general public through “just follow the law, the litigation alone is not worth it”, rather than “follow the law, there is justice”. For instance, I can imagine that two parties would actually be precluded from finding common ground by righteous fire-breathing lawyers. I suspect the typical flow for lawyers A and B is something along the lines of:
A: *Righteous posturing* – do what we want or we’ll sue!!!
B: WTF? You are wrong!
B: Bring it!
Trial for 3 years
A to client: dude, we might lose.
A’s client: fine, let’s settle
A to B: settle? we’ll all lose if court decides
B: ok or F off
Court: “well fine then” or “you are both screwed”
Later that evening, at a bar:
A: *sips martini* Dude, that was awesome.
B: Yeah… I like totally got myself a new yacht. Wanna go cuddle in the moonlight?
A: I’ll bring the booze.
And there you have it. Another reason to crowdsource pre-trial. Or avoid lawyers. Or increase penalty for litigator for stepping outside of bounds of ethics. Or, best of all, drop the cost of litigation for people so that either everyone can afford adequate representation or can properly represent themselves in court.
Noticed that there are a lot of lawyer services where it’s possible to ask a lawyer and get an answer for $20-$50… wonder how good these services are. For example: https://now.ehow.com/legal. Neat. Might be worth trying.
Another solution that comes to mind: it is really the role of the system to ensure that justice is served. What could be done is that the government could set up competing agencies, the purpose of which is to help pro se litigants understand procedure and organize their approach. The judicial system is not very complicated once you understand how it works: you have a claim, you need to be able to substantiate it, you might file some motions in the process. If one can drive, one should be able to present their case to court in a manner that a truly unprejudiced judge should be able to decide fairly. Although don’t get me started on the unprejudiced judge topic after my experience with Judge Curran and Judge Budd, both of whom have erred immensely in my opinion. But then there is a process to appeal – we’ll see how that goes.