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# 207814 15-Jan-2017 10:18
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I have been invited by a lawyer to start this thread and it strikes me as an interesting topic. Lawyers are often the target of jokes and disapprobation. The stereotype is that they are greedy, dishonest, and only interested in charging large fees. Of course this is not true of most of them, but it does seem to be the public perception. So how do we feel about lawyers as a group? What experiences have we had? Modern society cannot function without them and people in legal trouble are quick to turn to them for advice. So are lawyers a good thing? Have they served you well or poorly?

 

My own dealings with lawyers have been limited. Years ago I was sued, my legal firm considered my case low priority and assigned me an inexperienced junior, I ended up doing the research and writing the briefs, and I won my case. The firm billed me as much as I would have had to pay if I had lost, but it was a matter of principle to me so I was not entirely dissatisfied. Even though my lawyer was of limited usefulness, I still needed him for the formal court processes.

 

Years later, I was asked to accompany a friend to a meeting with her lawyer, whom she felt intimidated by. He was supposed to be acting for her in a civil dispute, but all he did was write a letter and say there was nothing more he could do when the letter did not receive a reply. He seemed mainly concerned with his fee.

 

My other experience was with our family lawyer, a pillar of our community. He drew up my will for me. No complaints there, but last year he was struck off for helping himself to some funds he was responsible for (not ours), and since then has been the subject of a criminal complaint.

 

Those are my experiences with lawyers. What are yours?

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  # 1703408 15-Jan-2017 10:23
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My experiences have been top notch. Two for will settlements, one for recent house purchase, one for my being an executor of a deceased relative. All great, great advice, and helpful, all working for me. I don't really get the ranting about them to be honest. 

 

Take a defence lawyer, defending a bad crim, they are just doing their job, and giving the defendant his/her right to a fair trial/case


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  # 1703411 15-Jan-2017 10:33
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Lawyers are useful. However, I did read somewhere that NZ has more per capita than anywhere else (not sure if that is true, but for such a small place there certainly are a lot of them) and I cannot imagine why. What do they do here that they do not do elsewhere? You can't even sue people for personal injury here so they aren't doing that, which provides plenty of work in Europe and the US for them.






 
 
 
 


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  # 1703418 15-Jan-2017 10:38
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I worked in IT for a mid size NZ law firm for 5 years. Like any work place, there are people you get along with and those you don't. I found most even at even Partner level to be pretty down to earth and genuine people, there was respect for those that were not billing hours and the work they did. The experience may have been different at the Big Three/Auckland where they tend to work their Juniors stupid hours etc.

 

I then moved to the UK and worked for a New York based law firm where even the most junior of legal staff (most not even real lawyers yet) expected you to kiss the ground they walked on, the whole firm had a crap culture really. 

 

The end of the day they are just people doing a job, even the ones that are defending the biggest scum bags on earth. The odd few you hear about in the media, probably not so good. 

 

I would believe we are high in lawyers per capita, the Universities are certainly pumping them out at a fast rate, how sustainable that is I am unsure. Obviously not everyone who gets a law degree becomes a lawyer.


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  # 1703425 15-Jan-2017 10:53
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Some are okay, but overall I'd say my opinions are negative.

 

I tend to believe that people shouldn't "just follow orders" when it comes to things I consider morally reprehensible, yet lawyers do just that. Be it defending the clearly guilty, suing people for downloading movies, or patent trolling in the Eastern District of Texas.





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  # 1703426 15-Jan-2017 10:55
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The experience I have had over many years is that they are professionals doing their job. Like any profession there will be good and bad but my personal experience has been good.




Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

Using empathy takes no energy and can gain so much. Try it.

 

 


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  # 1703432 15-Jan-2017 11:00
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My wife's a lawyer, though not practicing as a lawyer, but works for a law firm in a legal role. The firm is very money oriented, and I typically describe law firms as "a pyramid scheme of bastards, the higher up you go the bigger the degree of bastardry". They treat their people relatively poorly, set targets that are difficult to achieve, and in general the working conditions and flexibility are far inferior to those in IT. Their charge out rates are ridiculous, $250 to $750 per hour, with the junior people who are charged out at $250/hr being paid maybe $50 at hour at best. All in all I prefer to avoid dealing with lawyers in that role, though most are nice enough people.


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  # 1703440 15-Jan-2017 11:14
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Useful of you can afford to pay, pointless if you can't. I won't guess at the ratio of bad apples, but with potential to do great harm distrust is my default opinion.

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  # 1703443 15-Jan-2017 11:20
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I think, just like any occupation, there are good ones and bad ones.

 

 

 

Coming from a back ground of law enforcement for 30 years I have had a lot of interaction with lawyers over that time. I have found there are some you could trust and have meaningful dialogue with and some that were just plain nasty and you wouldn't go near.


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  # 1703446 15-Jan-2017 11:23
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Yeah used them both via work and also personally - couple of comments:

 

 

 

1. LOS is highly variable as noted above - and the letterhead of the firm only matters so much, as it really depends on WHO exactly you get:

 

a. Sloppy work is common - as is slow service, poor quality control in their deliverables ie. grammar, spelling etc.

 

b. I am a bit pedantic but have found flaws in documents - inconsistent statements, lack of clarity - and at times have demonstrated better knowledge then they have e.g. contract law as it pertained to my house build contract - but I am a civil engineer / PM by "trade" ie. a potentially annoying client at the best of times :)

 

2. Best service I have had has been from partner level / in-house counsel - but they should provide good service at their charge rates....

 

3. They are an essential service - and if I REALLY needed a good one for a critical matter I would pony up the $$ rather than risk the consequences of a 15th rate plonker screwing sh*t up for me : /

 

 


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  # 1703449 15-Jan-2017 11:46

They do, indeed, offer an essential service, but, as with any professional group, there are both good and bad apples. I have some respect for Legal Aid lawyers, most of whom have a social conscience and a sense of community. But the ones who engender disrespect are those who see dollar signs at each and every interview or consultation. Unfortunately, they seem to be the majority, particularly those partners in large firms, who have specific dollar quotas that they, themselves, have set.

 

 


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  # 1703471 15-Jan-2017 12:30
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timmmay:

 

My wife's a lawyer, though not practicing as a lawyer, but works for a law firm in a legal role. The firm is very money oriented, and I typically describe law firms as "a pyramid scheme of bastards, the higher up you go the bigger the degree of bastardry". They treat their people relatively poorly, set targets that are difficult to achieve, and in general the working conditions and flexibility are far inferior to those in IT. Their charge out rates are ridiculous, $250 to $750 per hour, with the junior people who are charged out at $250/hr being paid maybe $50 at hour at best. All in all I prefer to avoid dealing with lawyers in that role, though most are nice enough people.

 

 

I would be stunned if your average junior solicitor (a $250 charge out rate would be that of a pretty junior solicitor in a medium to large size law firm) is on circa $100K a year. There are many senior associates who barely break $130K and they are charged out at way more. For those interested in employed lawyers' salaries, take a look at Niche Recruitment's annual surveys. The big money really only come when you make Special Counsel or partner or in rare cases when you are a Senior Associate in "hot" areas like tax and IP.

 

 driller2000:

 

Yeah used them both via work and also personally - couple of comments:

 

 

 

1. LOS is highly variable as noted above - and the letterhead of the firm only matters so much, as it really depends on WHO exactly you get:

 

a. Sloppy work is common - as is slow service, poor quality control in their deliverables ie. grammar, spelling etc.

 

b. I am a bit pedantic but have found flaws in documents - inconsistent statements, lack of clarity - and at times have demonstrated better knowledge then they have e.g. contract law as it pertained to my house build contract - but I am a civil engineer / PM by "trade" ie. a potentially annoying client at the best of times :)

 

2. Best service I have had has been from partner level / in-house counsel - but they should provide good service at their charge rates....

 

Sadly, there are a lot of lawyers whose grasp of the language is.... not exactly great. Mind you, as someone who has had to look at a lot of work from construction PMs, the experience in this regard has not always been positive either. As a former practising lawyer who has worked in firms and in-house and also in non-legal risk/commercial roles who routinely purchase legal services on behalf of firms, I find overwhelmingly that the best value lawyers are the younger Senior Associates who are clearly operating at partner level in terms of skills. And these are almost always women -- they are careful, detailed, and able to grasp all the nuances. Some of the worst services that I have seen have come from well-known QCs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  # 1703479 15-Jan-2017 12:36
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I remember reading an article about the oversupply of lawyers in the US and the drive to get doctorates to stand out.

The main point was that jaw in a cheap degree that scales up well . The cost is the same to university whether the lecturer is speakering to 200 students or 800. Law doesn't require expensive labs like medicine or dentistry and tutorials can be farmed off to the senior students.

Is there also a perception that law is a course that all real university offer ?

A.


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  # 1703484 15-Jan-2017 12:42
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This seems like a thinly veiled attempt at petty point scoring from previously mentioned thread. Not sure what you are hoping to achieve with it? If everyone says they hate Lawyers will you feel better? Will you not use one ever again even for matters that require one? 

 

Overall, I don't think it adds much to this forum, except to allow more negativity and conflict, and given how much of it there already is....

 

Even though I'd quite like to share my experiences here, I won't, simply because I think continued participation in this thread means it might go longer. 

 

 

 

 


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  # 1703488 15-Jan-2017 12:46
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I better not post my experience with a Christchurch lawyer in a top firm ... Think I'll leave it at that ...




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  # 1703498 15-Jan-2017 12:58
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I used to deal professionally with many senior partners in some of the big city firms. Many of those earn many hundreds of thousands, if not a million-plus $ per annum.

 

 

 

Never seemed right to me.


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