What rational lawyer would have signed on to represent the Concepcions in litigation for the possibility of fees stemming from a $30.22 claim?
April 27, 2011 Justice Stephen Breyer in AT&T vs. Concepcion
So this justice of the Supreme Court of the United States doesn't think it's rational for a professional with years of education and experience to work for $30.22. Funny that is more money than many doctors are forced to work for in this country. Thanks to EMTALA, declining Medicare reimbursements, and health insurance denial shenanigans, many doctors and hospitals actually take care of their patients for much less, as in free. And the courts have no problem with that. There have been multiple court cases that have ruled it is the obligation of physicians to treat patients even if they have no means of paying them back for their services.
Well, health care is a universal right and nobody should be allowed to be sick in this country, right? What about other universal human rights our modern civilization cherish, such as the right not to go hungry or to sleep in a cardboard box? Nobody is giving away food or houses under a court mandate. In our litigious country, having a lawyer on speed dial is practically a business necessity. Isn't legal representation a universal, or at least an American, right? But Justice Breyer feels that no lawyer should work for less than what they think they're worth, even if it is to represent a poor innocent client who clearly has a moral superiority over a big bad corporation. Yes some lawyers perform pro bono work, but that is mostly voluntary. And if you have a pro bono lawyer, you're probably not getting the best attorney out there to represent you. However all across our country some of our best doctors in major academic centers are treating indigent patients for free with no expectations that they or the hospital will be paid a single cent. Yet this work carries all the same malpractice liabilities as any other work. Where's the fairness in that?
Imagine a world where anyone can just show up at any legal office in the country, from Manhattan Beach to Manhattan N.Y. and demand to be represented by the best legal mind in the firm. Then the client proceeds to question every recommendation made by the lawyer. The lawyer is by law not allowed to transfer the client to another firm without the consent of the client. The client can sue the lawyer and firm for legal malpractice if he doesn't win his case and get the exact monetary damages he wants. And he won't have paid a single cent for all this trouble. He may actually get money from the beleaguered lawyer for all the pain and suffering he has endured. Welcome to our world.