Monday, August 31, 2009

My Worldwide Dream Of Avarice

No, not world peace, I was sleeping for this one. Napping to be precise.

In the dream, I got a phone call from friends in the Philippines, someone had been hurt, or worse, in an accident on a dangerous freighter at sea, and they needed a lawyer. This set off a fever dream of avarice: could I take the case? No, I’m inactive. Who could I refer the case too? For the referral fee, that is. Let’s see, it’s Admiralty Law, what’s the jurisdiction, where was the ship registered, where did the accident take place, who can I ask? Could I take a fee-split if I were on the inactive list, or would I need to reactivate first? There could be money in it, and in the dream I wanted a piece of the action.

Referral fees are a great thing for lawyers in California. Get the first call, and farm the case out to someone with talent, and you’re down for about twenty-five percent of the eventual attorney’s fee. I got $1,800 for a phone call one time (after about a year). For a great case it can easily run to tens of thousands of dollars.

The closest that I came to a big hit was a very nice medical malpractice case that would’ve been a dunk if the woman had spoken to me three weeks earlier. She had three years to file and she waited three years and three weeks to talk to a lawyer. I called it around but the pro’s figured that she’d irrevocably blown the statue. That was frustrating.

It’s a funny business, that lawyering.

1 comment:

nanute said...

It sure is a funny business. (That lawyering.) Just look at the great legal advice given to the Bush administration by John Yoo, currently professor at Berkeley Law.

And just today, a federal appeals court ruled that former AG John Ashcroft can be sued by people who were wrongfully held as material witnesses post 9/11. See Huff Post for details.

I not sure I understand the concept of "the rule of law" anymore.