Monday, February 11, 2008

Too Many Lawyers? Or Too Many Laws?

I saw someone complaining about "too many lawyers" today and I started ranting. You see, the problem is not too many lawyers. It's too many laws. The more laws you make, the more demand you create for lawyers.

Great example is the new Aggravated DWI law -- the higher offense for BAC over 0.18, and new rules limiting plea bargaining. Now instead of us just making deals for our clients that gets them into some kind of counseling and treatment, we almost have to fight the case. Makes plenty more work for us.

Make some more laws like that. I'll be able to retire sooner. And while you're at it, could you hire some more cops and have them arrest more people? More work for us.

Love when they arrest college kids for drug offenses? Their parents really appreciate lawyers and are happy to pay us -- especially with the law preventing those with drug convictions from getting financial aid (but not murderers or rapists). And have them write more speeding tickets too -- especially with the Pataki/Silver/Bruno Drivers Responsibility Assessment that makes the lawyer's fee seem so much more reasonable. Could you raise the fines more - that might persuade more people to hire us. Oh, and make it easier for them to lose their licenses too. Thanks!

Pass some more environmental regulations, and then the companies will need us to figure out how they can deal with them most effectively (not my game, but there are others out there). Oh, and maybe your town could enact more restrictive zoning laws. Then property developers will need to pay their lawyers more to work around the zoning.

And try to have as many different taxes as possible. If you only have one tax, then they only need one kind of tax lawyer. But if you have 1000 taxes, then they need 1000 different kinds of lawyers. You got your personal income tax lawyers, corporate income tax lawyers, estate tax lawyers, property tax lawyers, import tariffs, and it goes on and on.

Oh, I forgot -- election laws. Other states should be more like New York. Make the election laws as complicated as possible, so we can have more litigation about who gets on the ballot and all that. I can't wait to see how much work we get with these new voting machines.

Please post comments on this. Would love to hear some thoughts. --Warren


Anonymous said...

well I don't know about the rest of the laws you mention, but lets talk about Aggravated DWI law.

If people would figure out that its not permissable to drink and drive , maybe we wouldn't need this law. But so far it hasn't sunk in that drinking and driving is not legal and not to do it

But since people are not catching on and the percentage of DWI arrest that people are being charged with ADWI is high.

If Jail time was mandatory then maybe the numbers would go down.

Unknown said...

I respectfully disagree with pml on this, but appreciate his participation. It is a common answer from politicians (I'm not referring to pml) that the answer is always to "get tough on crime." Those darn criminals aren't behaving, so we'll just have to punish them some more.

The Aggravated DWI law is not working as far as I can tell in discouraging people from drinking and driving. Criminal prosecution does not appear to be an effective deterrent. Even in places where jail time is mandatory, people still drink and drive - and go to jail. I think in PA it's 48 hours mandatory. A lot of people would rather do 2 days in jail than lose their license for a year.

There are better answers to the DWI problem. An easy step is to change zoning laws so bars are not allowed to have much parking. A bigger step, and much harder to make work in rural areas, is to increase mass transit and create nightlife areas near transit centers. Japan has far fewer drunk driving deaths, mainly because there's a lot less driving.

But the above approach wouldn't create nearly as much work for lawyers like me, so let's hope society doesn't do anything sensible like that. :-)

Anonymous said...

The problem is how do we convince people that drinking and driving is a serious crime. Until we as a society can do that, we won't stop it.

But until then, like all laws you need to be held accountable.

So how do we do that, I agree 48hrs is not enough. If yoour convicted of ADWI it should be mandatory minimum 30 days, serious fines, and loss of license for a year with no conditional license allowed.

The only way to make it work is to make it hurt enough to deter people from doing it.

The public thinks murder, rape and burglary and the like are "real" crime, but don't feel that way about DWI.

I have great respect for attorneys in what they do, and consider them absolutly essentional to our Criminal Justice system, but sometimes they can be a pain in the butt.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the problem really that DWI isn't a serious crime? Not to diminish the severity of some incidents, but really the severe instances are far more rare than drivers being drunk on the roads or even getting busted for it. Shouldn't we be more concerned with worthwhile convictions of those who really cause damage rather than trying to control everybody who demonstrates potential to do so?

DWI and terrorism seem to be rarities in American justice. 2 crimes of potential rather than any resulting effects.
The problem is convincing people that something innocuous is one of societies worst ills.
I won't defend the drunks or terrorists that do real damage to others, but if we are going to prosecute potential to do damage we could prosecute every food provider, every surgeon, every driver, every child, etc.
Shouldn't the laws be a little more rational?

This from a guy who has had 2 DWAI's at .08, and over 50 speeding tickets. Too many laws are a farce and it makes the good ones get dealt with at the same level of farcical justice.