Concise definition of “Law”
Law is the process of transferring money
from one person to another
Consider the following parties we typically find in civil litigation:
Plaintiff’s attorney —- Defendant’s attorney
Plaintiff —- Defendant
Here we have corporation A (the Plaintiff) and its attorney wronged by another party. And we would normally say, in everyday language, that “on the other side” is another corporation B which did the wrong (the Defendant) and “its” attorney. Normally we would chop this reality vertically, like this:
Plaintiff’s attorney | Defendant’s attorney
Plaintiff | Defendant
But is this the ONLY way of slicing up this reality?
To find out, let’s consider the following hypothetical scenario:
Company A has been damaged by a contract breach to the tune of $500,000. The executives of Company A go to an attorney, who decides to sue for $1,000,000 (“ask for more to get what you want”). Company B, on its attorney’s instructions, refuses to pay this inflated amount, and decides to fight. The battle is on!
Over a course of months and several different court hearings, evidence is gathered, many depositions are taken, interrogatories and replies to interrogatories are submitted, briefs and replies to briefs are written, and motions to counter counter-motions are filed.
Throughout this process, we find on both sides paralegals making “deposition digests” and “cite-checking” legal briefs at $65 an hour; associates doing research for legal memoranda at $150 an hour on the database Westlaw (which charges over $150 an hour for access), and distilling the research gathered; and law partners reviewing the written memoranda and conferencing with associates at $350 an hour. In addition, airline tickets, photocopying, cab fare, “temp” wages, and after-hour meal costs mount. And so it goes, until the day of reckoning.
Then, the day before the trial (just by coincidence), the attorneys decide to settle – after all, “meeting the other side halfway” to the tune of $500,000. And, interestingly enough, over the last few months the legal costs for each side have managed to equal $500,000 as well.
Let’s examine the net profits and losses of the various parties involved. First the losers:
PLAINTIFF: minus $500,000
(original damage of $500,000 added to $500,000 legal bills is offset by $500,000 settlement)
DEFENDANT: minus $500,000
(original gain of $500,000 is offset by $500,000 settlement added to $500,000 legal bills).
Now the winners:
Plaintiff’s ATTORNEY: == $500,000 (billings)
Defendant’s ATTORNEY: == $500,000 (billings)
Well, that is a fascinating turn of events. Turns out the financial losers in this scenario were both of the clients (the represented), and the winners were the attorneys (the representatives).
In light of these results, one may be forgiven for having this possibly paranoid hypothesis: that the attorneys, supposedly REPRESENTING their clients, were actually working AGAINST the interests of their clients all along!
This hypothesis would be made more credible if we could show that the extensive experience of these attorneys in these kinds of disputes told them that they could file motion upon motion and depose witnesses right and left (while generating vast profits for months) with hardly a peep from the clients; and if, on occasion, the clients did balk, the lawyers could “make things right” simply by “writing off” 15% of the vastly inflated bill (some of which involved “overbilling” for work not actually performed in the form of “inflating the timesheets”), and still leave a nice profit.
Of course, since we’re not paranoid (which is “crazy”), we’ll have to reject out of hand the “paranoid” hypothesis. Instead, let’s look to reality: the reality of the spreadsheet. When we analyze along the lines of WINNERS and LOSERS, the true alignment would shift 90 degrees, and would look like this:
WINNERS Plaintiff’s attorney & Defendant’s attorney (+ $1,000,000)
LOSERS Plaintiff & Defendant (- $1,000,000)
Once we draw the line horizontally (to reflect the actual financial state of affairs), we can see that both the Plaintiff and Defendant, who saw themselves as “enemies” throughout the “conflict,” were actually mutual victims brought together in fact (though not in mind) with reference to their pragmatic status as PAWNS in the game of SUCK OUT THE CLIENT’S SURPLUS INCOME. (oops — slipping into “paranoia” again!).
Since the financial analysis in this final alignment turns out to be the valid one, we can see that the real issue is not the surface “issue” (the contract dispute), but rather the hidden process which pits the unified attorney agents against the ignorant divided clients, both the unified representatives against the squabbling represented!
There is no justice here, these clients were duped and played by the ATTORNEY PLAYERS, who, as it turns out, happened to also write the RULES of this game of redistribution of wealth many years before the contract dispute in question occurred.
The Guru has proven that it really is the best legal system that money can buy !!