Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ha! Now, Attorneys that MAY have Retired are Volunteering!!

Great!  As you may know, I'm not keen on attorneys taking on free work, when it cost $120K to become an attorney. I can't get any of my dentist friends to fill my cavities for free... although I dispense free legal advice all the time.  But, if newbies are going to be forced to hang out a shingle, then I suppose they need some experience.  And now that is being given to old attorneys. FABULOUS.  Experience that newbies would love to get in on is going to Baby Boomers that aren't ready to retire.  And I'm sure some middle-aged solo attorneys are burning over this as well.  As I said before, where there's a will--there's a way.  If you need an attorney and an attorney costs money, you will find a way to pay that attorney.   Or you will find an attorney who will do it for very little.  And I bet those few pennies mean so much to a solo in this economy, or a newbie for that matter.

BTW--as a side note.  Tenants don't need attorneys in Landlord/Tenant Court.  They never did before, so I don't think they need it now.  But hey, let's take advantage of attorneys old and young who don't have shit to do.  Make them feel more relevant.  Volunteer!  Uncle Sam needs you!

Courts Seek More Lawyers to Help the Poor by William Glaberson (New York Times)
The recession has swelled the number of people showing up in New York State courts who cannot afford lawyers to 2.1 million annually, often turning eviction, foreclosure, debt collection and other civil cases into lopsided battles that raise questions about the fairness of the legal system.
In response, the state court system is beginning an unusual new program this week to try to fill the gap with volunteer retired lawyers, hoping partly to attract Baby Boomer lawyers who may be ready to slow down but are not keen on full-time golf.

New York’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, said in an interview that officials changed the state’s rules this week to add a new category of lawyer, attorney emeritus, that will free lawyers of some burdens of full-time practice, like paying for malpractice insurance, while channeling them to dozens of legal programs around the state that represent low-income people without charge. Until now, lawyers were required to register with the state as either active or retired.

Judge Lippman said that the program could sharply increase the number of lawyers volunteering for such public interest work, after decades of efforts that have not come close to meeting the demand. “This is putting a gold star on their chest, saying, ‘You are doing something important,’ ” Judge Lippman said.

Although such work is often described as an ethical obligation of law practice, some studies have shown that more than half of the state’s 250,000 lawyers provide no free services.

In interviews, judges described the growing ranks of people who say they cannot afford lawyers as a crisis in the courts. They said that unrepresented people sometimes blundered into errors that could lead to destitution and homelessness. Court officials said the number of people who say they cannot afford lawyers statewide has grown by 300,000 since 2005, to 2.1 million annually by 2009.

Nationally, court officials and bar associations have begun to talk about the potential for volunteer work from some 400,000 of the country’s 1.1 million lawyers in the Baby Boom generation who are moving toward retirement.

In the New York program, lawyers over 55 who register in the attorney emeritus category will be trained and supervised in the work for low-income clients. Steven Banks, the attorney in chief of the Legal Aid Society in New York City, said the program could be a breakthrough in efforts to draw more volunteer lawyers. “It is an innovative idea to tap into untapped resources,” Mr. Banks said.

He said that because of limited resources, the society was turning away eight of every nine people who come to it seeking legal help in civil cases.

Bar associations and other groups around the country have worked for decades to increase lawyers’ volunteer efforts. Court officials said that at least six states, including Florida, Illinois and Nevada, have attorney emeritus programs like the one New York is adopting.

At many large corporate law firms there is now an established culture of regularly handling public-interest cases without charging fees.

But there has also been resistance to participation in volunteer programs by some lawyers. A statewide study in 2002 said only about a quarter of all lawyers worked more than 20 hours a year on such voluntary efforts.

Many of the organizations that provide free legal services in the state are facing their own fund-raising and other financial challenges because of the economy, at a time when more people need lawyers, said Fern Schair, the chairwoman of the board of the Feerick Center for Social Justice at Fordham Law School, which works to expand representation for people who cannot afford lawyers.

Judge Lippman said that Ms. Schair proposed the attorney emeritus program to him last summer as a way that New York might try to cope with the challenge of the growing number of unrepresented people in the courts.

“I immediately said to her, ‘We’re going to do it,’ ” Judge Lippman said on Wednesday. “This struck me as a unique opportunity to kind of seize the day.”


  1. Well, Angel, maybe there aren't enough unemployed attorneys willing to help out the poor. After all, you won't get out of bed for less than $35 per hour, so what if the others feel the same way?

    Do lawyers aren't allowed to volunteer because that is taking jobs away from struggling lawyers. Law schools aren't allowed to help the poor in clinics because that is taking jobs away from struggling lawyers. What else have you got?

    Good luck trying to get anything to change by saying that the poor should pony up their food money for a lawyer rather than having a generous pro-bono or student do it.

    And I'm the one that's a "nutjob!"


  2. I'm working for $32 an hour now. Kill me for being hopeful. I was less hopeful than you, thinking that you are going to be on L.R. and successful post-law school. The market took a dip and I'm doing what I have to and you're painting me out to be selfish. I FUCKING BILLS. DON'T YOU GET IT? You're the one with a silver spoon in your mouth for not understanding what that means. You frustrate me to no end and you point out my shortcomings regularly... and I don't need to hear it from you. Every month, I write out two checks for student loans totally $600 and it's blantantly obvious to me that my career has taken a downward turn. I guess you won't knock me until I happily take 1/3 of my previous salary and think that is a-okay by me, because it's all American.
    I hope you fall flat on your face. I'll step on your back as I walk by. I hope you get all the volunteer experiences you'd like in Law School.. during your legal career and once you retire. You are totally on my shit list. Consider yourself UNWELCOME.

  3. Sorry. I lost my composure. I can't wait to see what you do with your life. :)

  4. Angel- don't apologize. Doug is annoying. He's just a completely clueless 0L who essentially thinks exactly what all the other clueless 0L's think: he's going to be different, he's special, things will work out for him. I don't begrudge people for making the same mistake I did- I was clueless once as well. But do NOT attack people who have lived it and are on the other side. Things didn't work out for a lot of fucking smart, hard-working people who made the decision to go to law school. We did what we thought was going to give us more opportunities, and for a SIGNIFICANT amount of law graduates, we got the exact opposite with tremendous, crippling debt. The numbers don't lie. It really is that bad out there. Those critics out there: you really have no idea what you're talking about. Even you're "open-minded" approach to law school is anything but: you've made your decision that you're better than those of us who struggle. Maybe things will work out. But trust this: maybe it won't. Angel, as another female attorney doing doc review, keep up the good work- I check it everyday!:)

  5. Don't apologize to Doug, Angel. Doug is an arrogant idiot. Enjoy being a 1L Doug, because that's as far as you'll get, I predict you'll flunk out first year. Doug, sometimes I talk to doctors and I thought about medical school. Doesn't make me an MD, and never will. Why don't you do something useful with your time, like spank your little monkey.

  6. Angel, don't worry about it. You're not the supposed male that's letting his wife support him while he sits at home playing xbox. You're doing what you have to do, and Doug's living off a trust fund or family. Who's doing the honorable thing here?

    And Doug, you never did address the points I brought up a couple threads ago. If you have nothing to say, I don't blame you, because I'd love to read what your "logic" would be attacking them.

  7. That's right. Loser did mention staying home playing Xbox while his wife supports his sorry ass, didn't he? How do you like having your shit thrown back in your face, Doogie?

    Does your wife put food on the table, cook it, run your laundry, feed you, burp you, and wipe your ass, too?

  8. Doug we get it, you think you're special enough to succeed in law school - nobody here agrees with you, we think you're a loser. Nobody cares about your silly little blog, so stop posting here trying to get Angel's readers to look at your blog. We won't. We are firmly in her camp and on her side. Fuck off.

  9. Still haven't found these Jerry comments, but I'm looking...

    Also, some of you don't read very well. I never said I played X-Box. I don't even have an X-Box. I do remember mentioning something about the game though.

    I never said I was better or smarter than anyone either, but feel free to attack me and twist what I say if it makes you feel better.

    Trust fund? That's a laugh.

    The Loser 0L (who seems to be doing alright in comparison)



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