Here’s a sample of the Editor’s writings on Legal Ethics.
Counselors Oughtta Counsel (Not Conceal) This column, published by Prairielaw.com in 2001, shows the failure of the ABA’s now-adopted Ethics2000 model rules of professional responsibility to ensure that legal clients are fully-informed consumers who have the benefits of competition and innovation (meaningful information and meaningful choices). [Ethics1000 would have been a better name for the ABA project, as it spawned ethical rules more appropriate fro a medieval guild than a group of “responsible” professionals in the Third Millennium.]
Pricey Contingency Fees This June 2000 article in Prairielaw.com argues (quite persuasively!) that use of a “standard” contingency fee violates the existing codes of ethics and ethics opinions, while unfairly enriching lawyers at the expense of their clients.
Supersize Small Claims This article from Prairielaw.com (August 2000) advocates raising the limit on small claims awards to $20,000, to improve access to justice for the average consumer. It notes: “In a nation that loves lawyer-bashing and lawyer jokes, the lack of political support for court reform can be understood only in the context of the immense power of the legal establishment and its mighty efforts to preserve control of our justice system.”
D for Discipline — Lawyers need a push to try harder This op/ed piece appeared in the Sunday Gazette (NY Capital Region, June 22, 2003), under the title Objection Sustained. It offers reform solutions for our “scandalous” system of attorney self-regulation.
The ABA and the Standard Contingency Fee In this Open Letter to the FTC on the ABA and Contingency Fee (dated April 11, 2002), your Editor details bar association actions to prevent competition over personal injury fees, by removing existing (but ignored) ethical restrictions on the use of the “standard contingency fee.” The Letter, which is posted on the Forum page of the HALT.org web site, calls for an FTC antitrust investigation, as well as a broad program to arm average consumers with the information they need to protect themselves and assert their rights as law clients.