Lawyer hating is nothing new. Over the years, thanks to some attorneys who manipulated their positions to make the largest profit possible, the legal profession writ large earned itself a bad reputation. So when it comes to major litigation against powerful corporations like Toyota and BP, legal critics are quick to finger lawyers as villains bloodthirsty for cash, thinking more about the bottom line than the well being of their clients.
Clearly, this is not the case. I can say from firsthand experience that the lawyers here at GJEL Accident Attorneys are passionate about helping their clients through difficult times caused by wrongful death, car accidents, or other physical harm. For this reason, I was dismayed to read a vitriolic Washington Times editorial claiming that layers are “due to get more moolah from Toyota and BP than victims.”
The editorial by Lawrence Schonbrun, executive director of Class Action Watch, an anti-lawyer non-profit, provides no firm facts or figures that show what type of profit lawyers have made in past major class action lawsuits, saying only that lawyers are “jumping over themselves to cash in on corporate wrongdoing” and their lawsuits amount to nothing more than “feeding frenzies with legal piranhas jockeying for lucrative committee positions from which to dole out patronage… to the many lawyers’ mouths that need to be fed.”
Schonbrun then asks, “how many of the best $750- to $900-an-hour lawyers are needed to resolve the Toyota legal claims?” This question makes the unfortunate implication that each of the lawyers working on the Toyota litigation are being paid on an hourly basis. In reality, civil litigation firms are frequently paid on a contingency basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless their clients’ case is successful. And when they win the case, civil litigation firms are often paid a percentage of the reward, not based on the number of hours spent on the case.
Schonbrun concludes saying class action lawsuits, against Toyota, BP, or other irresponsible corporations, “should be about people who are the most injured getting the most money, but unfortunately, the current class-action system does the very opposite.” This seems an odd final note to strike considering that the editorial demands less legal representation for the victims of Toyota’s vehicles plagued by brake problems and BP’s oil spill.