Does Your Law Suit Make Economic Sense
A law suit is a tool, not an end in and of itself. Thus, don't sue someone because you are angry. Do it if filing a law suit helps accomplish an important personal or business objective.
That sounds like common sense advice or even something that you can expect your lawyer to tell you. Too often, however, that's not the case. Lawyers can get caught up in the litigation process. They focus on upcoming deadlines and what needs to happen in the next 30 to 60 days. Thus, it's critical that you, as the client or potential client, emphasize what goals are most important to you. Moreover, it helps lawyers if you regularly ask them how the specific steps they are taking during the law suit are designed to serve your goals.
One of the most common problems that arise relates to whether the law suit is actually reasonably calculated to bring you money. Good lawyers think of this at the beginning of the process. It's not enough to show that someone or some entity broke a law; you also need to make sure they have money. Sometimes the difficulty in collecting or tracking down money makes pursuing a law suit a dicey strategy, regardless of how clear cut the legal issues are. Fortunately, there is a concrete step you can take to determine whether the law suit is likely to make sense financially. Consider retaining an investigator who specializes in tracking down assets before you file a law suit or before the law suit has progressed too far. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they paid their lawyer tens of thousands of dollars or more only to find out that "winning" their law suit wasn't worth the money it cost.
Posted by Gideon on 02/17 at 02:10 PM
Categories: Hiring A Lawyer
Suspended Lawyer of the Month for February 2011
What do you do when a lawyer who has previously been suspended from the practice of law ignores the suspension and continues working as a lawyer?
That's just one of the questions that is raised by the disciplinary history of California lawyer Walter James Roberts IV.
Here, in its entirety, is the State Bar of California's summary of the one-year suspension that was imposed in May 2010 on Mr. Roberts:
WALTER JAMES ROBERTS IV [#225339], 47, of Rancho Cucamonga was suspended for two years, stayed, placed on three years of probation with a one-year actual suspension and he was ordered to take the MPRE and comply with rule 9.20 of the California Rules of Court. The order took effect May 2, 2010.
Roberts stipulated that while suspended in 2005 and 2007 he practiced law. He also disobeyed a court order and by failing to disclose his status to his clients, he committed acts of moral turpitude.
He did not comply with probation conditions attached to previous disciplinary orders, including a requirement that he develop a law office management plan, submit quarterly probation reports on time and keep his address current with the State Bar. He also submitted quarterly probation reports that contained misstatements.
In mitigation, Roberts cooperated with the bar’s investigation.
The State Bar's conduct in this case is more perplexing than Mr. Roberts. It's not hard to understand why a suspended lawyer might resist telling clients that they have been suspended. But why would you suspend someone who ignored two prior suspensions and submitted probation reports that contained misstatements? It's also a bit ironic that someone who has at best undermined the effectiveness of prior discipline seems in this instance to be credited for cooperating with the Bar's investigation.
Given that Mr. Roberts didn't submit quarterly reports on time, you would think that this would be fairly obvious within a few days of the deadline. I certainly hope that the State Bar will be especially vigilant in monitoring Mr. Robert's compliance with his current suspension.