Do you ever feel like an imposter? As successful as you are do you believe you are just fooling people because deep down you are incompetent, taking money for work you are ill-prepared to do? Do you think one day you will be found out for the fraud that you are? Well, so do most lawyers. Suzanne Meehle shares her story.
Shakespeare said it best. In reference to a plot to seed anarchy, Dick the Barber says, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” In other words, the lawyers are what stand between the Rule of Law and utter lawlessness.
You’ve had your initial consultation. You’ve counseled your new client on the services they need, and they are ready to sign the engagement letter. But then you ask for their retainer, and they look at you like you’ve got three heads.
“You want HOW MUCH?!?!”
What do you do now?
Imagine if you will two horse traders during early 1900s saying, ‘You know, we’re not selling as many horses as we used to because there are just too many horse traders.’ This discussion takes place on a busy street where where crowds of people are awed and enthused as they see four or five of those new-fangled contraptions called the automobile weaving in and out between the horse and buggies and pedestrians. The conversation continues, ‘now if we can just shut down those horse dealers who are already in trouble, make it a little harder for them to succeed, regulate them right out of business, we can corner the horse market for ourselves.’ So, let’s talk horses in this post….
When are you most vulnerable to a malpractice claim, when are you least? What are the ugly malpractice monsters are rearing their heads going forward? Are you safer as a a newbie or a more seasoned professional? The answers may surprise you. But most importantly, they’ll inform you to help you with your practice going forward. Join Jared and I as we discuss these surprising landmines from our unique perspective.
They made misleading claims about how many of their students were likely to find a job, obscuring the grim reality of how few get employment in their field. They buried their graduates in piles of debt they could not reasonably repay, and admitted unqualified students in pursuit of tuition revenue. They often failed to educate their students well enough to pass the tests required to land a job. And the watchdog that oversees them is facing sanctions from the Education Department.
This might sound very much like the scandal-ridden world of for-profit colleges. But since the recession, it has also become an accurate way to describe some American law schools. So, will the government step in and cancel your student loans?
If I hear one more lawyer tell me they referred out a case to another lawyer ‘just because’ and maybe that lawyer will send something their way down the road, I want to scream, ‘You are leaving money on the table.’ Do you not understand what a referral fee is? Do you not understand the value of this fee to provide you some financial stability for your practice?
Many people talk about Access to Justice (A2J), the big legal movement of the 21st century. But the biggest hurdle to A2J is the delivery of the legal education itself. The organization who controls what constitutes a valid education to gain a license to practice law is the American Bar Association (ABA). They determine accreditation. And as we all know, in order to sit for the bar exam you have to have graduated from an ABA-accredited law school (with the exception of California, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming).
Yes, it’s true. The ABA is the greatest hurdle to providing access to justice for the millions in this country who need affordable legal services. Let me tell you why.