Class action lawsuits

Discussion in 'The Law of God' started by Puritan Sailor, Feb 2, 2008.

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  1. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    No worries. I'm still technically an attorney, and I do practice some - almost exclusively pro bono for congregants, Christians, and work for the Alliance Defense Fund. But my work for ADF is of a general "for the Church" nature, since I don't litigate. My personal experience with litigation is in supervising outside law firms as a general counsel.
  2. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

  3. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I've been sitting on my hands on this one. I'm defending three class action lawsuits right now, but I've been on the other side too. I agree with Fred that the big class action game (which doesn't often even hit the news these days) is to 1. find a forum that is known for big verdicts, 2. find a sympathetic lead client, and 3. pick an industry that people either don't understand or has been villified.

    Milk and repeat.

    Take the GM truck litigation about 9 years ago. There were millions of class plaintiffs. The "settlement" was that each putative plaintiff would get a coupon for $1000 off of their next (presumably defective?) GM product. Then the plaintiffs' lawyers got to calculate their lodestar percentage on the "settlement" value (10% of more than a billion isn't too shabby).

    The Federal District Court signed off on the deal. If it weren't for the Court of Appeals, it would have worked. But the Court of Appeals sent it back because it held that the settlement value of the $1000 coupon was essentially nothing. Sorry, buds, no lodestar for you on that basis.

    On the other hand, I once initiated, on the plaintiff's side, a class action lawsuit against a parking company that was routinely dunning parking customers for non-payment when the people did pay. It was a pattern, and during discovery we found that one of the parking employees was pocketing cash and handing out tickets. The management turned a blind eye to the obvious pattern. Discovery led to the names of around 50 people who had wrongly been billed for unpaid parking, many several times. (talking $50 fines). These people were so frustrated at the lack of recourse that they were more than happy to be contacted by the class notice.

    So class actions have their place, I think. Particularly in the size of classes that you can meet in a large room. Sadly, greed and coveting mess up justice as it does everything else.
  4. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Wow, Fred, you be the man! I have one son who is a pastor and another who is a litigator. You are both in one! Any chance I can adopt you? :lol:
  5. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    You can adopt me and send my kids to college!! ;) :lol:

    But seriously, I'm not a litigator. If I am ever in a court, I need a lawyer!
  6. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    How do I get to that point, where I never see a court room? I want to go into some type of law where I don't have to darken that doorstep. :p
  7. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritanboard Commissioner

    Go into politics. Start with Assembly, then State Senate, then Congress, then governor, then POTUS. :lol:
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Real estate might be a possibility. Go to loan closings, etc. I worked for an office where one of the partners did a lot of those and hardly ever went to court. If there was a motion or something with one of his insurance defense cases one of the associates would go.
  9. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    That means I have to start as one of those lowly associates. :)
  10. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    It is actually pretty easy. The world of lawyers is divided into two segements:
    1. litigators
    2. non-litigators (transactional lawyers)
    Even in the litigation world, most attorneys are not ever in court (in an average size full service firm of 100 lawyers, 35 or so might be in litigation, and only 15-20 or so of them might be typically involved in courtroom work).

    But if you don't want to be in court, you could be:
    • general corporate
    • mergers & acquisitions
    • real estate
    • commercial finance
    • securities law (IPOs, filing compliance, etc)
    • intellectual property
    • health law
    • trusts and estates (will, planning, etc.)
    • tax law (the business planing and transactional kind, not tax court kind)
    • some employment law (ERISA, etc)
    Take a look at the websites of the major law firms in your town. There will be plenty of explanation. I did real mostly estate and M&A my first 5-6 years, specifically doing REIT (real estate investment trusts) work. Then I started doing more commercial finance. Most people think about LA Law, or the Practice, or Matlock when you say lawyer. But most lawyers never see a courtroom.
  11. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    I've been wanting to do estate planning, but thus far, the only job I can turn up for the summer is with the D.A.'s office.

    Any suggestions for getting into an office to start watching how it goes? Is just sending in resumes a good practice or is something more better? Should I try to network (which has yet to turn anything up), or just walk into offices?
  12. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    What is your current status? Have you completed law school? Passed a bar? Worked before? Feel free to PM me.
  13. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I'd dare say there are more non-litigation positions than litigation positions out there. I've been a litigator for 16 years in courts all over my state. You see the same faces over and over. Our state bar has around 30,000 members, our biggest county (King) has around 10,000 of them. I'd guess that less than a thousand in King County are regular litigators. All those other lawyers must work somewhere else!

    All of these areas and more have non-litigation positions:

    Corporate law (being on the legal staff of a corporation or other business or being with a small firm advising business), estate planning, business workouts, transactions (both real estate and corporate acquistions), securities law, immigration law, education, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies (policy analysts, etc.), judicial clerks. On and on.

    Edit: Oops, I see Fred already answered the question more thoroughly than I did.
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