All right, five months ago it is Christmas time. As usual, there was a Christmas Carol movie is playing on a number of different cable stations. I think my three favorite are Bill Murray’s Scrooge, Vanessa Williams’ a Diva’s Christmas Carol and Patrick Steward`s, A Christmas Carol. I think Mr. Steward’s came closest to what Charles Dickens wanted to say. In each movie the main plot was pretty much the same, old greedy Ebenezer Scrooge or a Scrooge type character who refuses to part with a single coin and was out to squeeze every last possible coin from poor souls no matter how or why they got into debt. It did not matter what damage or suffering his greed caused. All that mattered was putting that shiny coin into his pocket.
With that in mind, one of his favorite things to do in getting that coin, in the book, was to buy the debt of others have the unfortunate debtor arrested and jailed as a debt dodge. It didn’t matter if they were employed trying to pay or not. Debt was an actual crime in the 18th and 19th centuries. With his victim in jail, in jail without a trail or due process, Ebenezer would seize and sell their homes, furniture anything with the remotest monetary value, turning the debtors ill parents, wives and children out to suffer in the streets. You know in the real world of the 19th century single and or widowed women with children just as often wound up in debtor’s prison as men did. Debtor’s children and wives were often sent to workhouses and orphanages. Places that were too often a half a step from hell. That is if they weren’t just dumped on the streets after their house was seized.
That would be a scary world to live in wouldn’t it. Thank the Lord we don’t live in such times, right? After all it only happens in fiction and history books, right? I mean such a thing could happen not in today’s America, right?
Wrong Virginia! It is very real! And it could very well happen to you!
Just ask the Minnesota woman, who went to jail over a $250 owed for a credit card she didn’t know she had. Or The Illinois breast cancer survivor who was jailed over a $280 medical bill the hospital told her she didn’t owe. There was a woman sent to jail over a $60 phone bill owed by her husband dead 10 years. Let’s not forget the Kansas City guy who went to jail for $1000 he owed a furniture store after making payment arrangements. This last January a judge sentenced a man in Kenny Illinois to an ‘indefinite jail term’ over $300 he owed a lumber yard.
This doesn’t include to poor souls sent to jail because they didn’t have the money or a job to pay a fine. Only to discover that their $60 fine after 90 days spent in jail is now $6000. After all someone has to pay for the prison, prison guards’, food and uniforms.
After all didn’t one bund ant say “If you were a good person and a favorite of God you would have been born rich?”
With all that is going on, I am going to take this week, and I am going to take this article to tell you my opinion on a few matters. One of the privileges of being a writer. Next I will be getting into Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
So here we go, I’ve got to wonder why Bloomberg is such an evil bad guy for giving $50 million to Mothers for gun control. I mean all they are doing with his money is using the money to lobby congressmen and promote their cause.
>‘Which I support by the way.”
The N.R.A. and crazy republicans are saying he is over reaching and abusing the system. Yet the Koch Brothers spend billions of dollars supporting the N.R.A. And they are claiming ‘they are such great Americans miss understood and abused.’ On 4/25/14 I watched part of the N.R.A. leader’s speech and I am really confused. He accused Democrats and Independents of passing bad laws without reading them and then going on T.V to defend them. Yet it has been republicans caught doing that for the least for the last 20 years. Regulating religion? Crazy republicans made it very clear that only a limited number Christian sects are acceptable. When did the collection of emails, cell phone records and personal data without cause or warrant is Obama’s fault? Didn’t Wayne La Pierre know that President G.W. Bush started it? Wayne La Pierre claims how news organizations are telling lies in support of certain political groups. As far as I know only Fox news and right-wing radio show have been caught in lie after lie. As far as I know CNN and MSNBC have made mistakes but they have always made prime time apologies and own up to it. Fox never has nor has Fox ever admitted their fact ‘mistakes’ and I have watched a few of their lame attempts to cover things up.
When did it become okay for someone who makes anywhere up to $100,000 a year and refuses pay one bills is a hero and someone who had been desperately searching for a job for the last three to four years loses and their unemployment insurance has to go to jail for feeding their kids. Shanesa Taylor of Arizona went to jail for trying to get a job to feed her kids. Just so you know debtor’s prisons in the United States is very real. Thousands of men and women have gone to jail for owing as little as $1000. Privatized juvenile jails are keeping their prisoners months past their release dates to fatten that prisons bills to the State.
Why do multi-billion dollar corporations deserve more in tax cuts and subsidies? To get paid just for existing in the States. And I have to pay more in taxes, and lose food stamps, A.C.A Medicare social security. To lose some of my tax deductions. To have A rich man’s son should go to college and while my nephews can’t. The Paul Ryan budget.
Why was it okay on that but unemployment insurance ‘sorry it’s just not that important.’?
You know I have even read an article about a private juvie prison in Florida being investigated for selling their male and female prisoners sexual services, like I said I am confused?
Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue. Also, please remember I am a paralegal not a lawyer.
Let’s move on to the small firms now, in most cases these firm’s are made up of 2 maybe 3 lawyers. Lawyers, who have joined forces to create their own firm, more often than not, are started by lawyers fresh out of law school, eager to take on the world. Sometimes these lawyers come from 2 or 3 of the larger firms. Unhappy with the treatment they received, or with the treatment of one or two clients, these “Knights” decided to give it a go on their own. Unfortunately, they have a lot less operating capital than larger firms. The supporting staff at a small firm is going to be a lot smaller. Which means their paralegals may even have to double as a receptionist from time to time.
Now let’s start with the Independent Lawyers. Even an Independent is often referred to as a law firm. These law firms consist of 1 lawyer and no support staffs. These troopers even have to take out the trash themselves. The Independent lawyer has to rely on their own skills, ingenuity, knowledge and cleverness. Occasionally, these Independents do get lucky and connect up with a skilled paralegal. It works like this, 2 or 3 independents will share the expertise of a paralegal. The Independent will call and or email the ‘shared’ paralegal with an assignment. When the paralegal completes the assignment h/she will email, fax or hand deliver the results back to the assigning lawyer. Unlike the larger firms, you will probably see more personal involvement from an Independent lawyer.
There are a few Independents that will dedicate themselves to try and help you. If the independent truly believes your issue has grown beyond his skill, a few independents will swallow their pride and help you find the help you need.
For some Independents, especially those fresh out of law school, where they live is the most important. However, these independents do try to connect with a local law firm. These local firms are usually fully staffed. Depending on the reputation earned as an Independent, these Independent lawyers usually get snapped up by a local law firm as soon as there is an opening available. Sometimes, and only sometimes openings are made available for them.
Next, let’s talk about the law firm categories. Law firm categories can be just as complex and confusing as lawyer specialties. There are firms that only deal with one issue, plus sub-issues as related to the main issue . I want to start with a Personal Injury Firm (the PI firm). There are PI firms operated by an Independent exclusively handles auto accidents. Another PI firm with more than one lawyer may handle auto accidents, and truck accidents. There are firms that only deal with medical malpractice exclusively. Medical malpractice firms only deal with surgical errors. Yet still other medical firms that will solely take on surgical and drug issues.
Next week we’ll talk more about specialized law firms and the types of lawyers out there.
Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue.
The Firm has almost become the generic name for a lawyer working in an office. Even, if they are found working all by themselves in a rundown rented room, in the not so nice section of town.
First, of course are the Mega-Firms. These bad boys have an impossible number of lawyers and support staff working for them. Their clients are corporations and people with more money than God. The chances of finding help you can afford here is not very good.
Then there are the large firms. These are firms owned and operated by Partners. Partners are the lawyers ultimately in charge of the firm. There are 2 types of partners, ‘equity’ and ‘income’. The ‘equity’ partner are the ones who gets to have their name on the firm’s letter head and get a lion’s share of the firms ‘pure’ profit. The ‘income’ partners are essentially the salaried department heads of the firm. Each of these lawyers will be in charge of a particular area of law. For example, one partner would be in charge of all domestic issues. Now, these firms may have upwards of 200 additional lawyers working for them. These lawyers are referred to as associates. The associate lawyer will handle the sub-specialties. These firms will have a large support staff. Paralegals, computer engineers and investigators to name a few of the support personal types they have access too. Downside, you may meet and talk with your lawyer only once, maybe twice. Unless, you have to go to court, then you might visit with your lawyer a few more times. You see, your case may be only one many. If they do take you on, will probably have more dealings with the paralegal assigned to your issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a lot like going to your doctor’s office. You may see and talk to your doctor for a few minutes. However, the blood draws, vital checks, getting the diagnostic exams scheduled, billing your issuance are handled by the support staff but the staff will report every test result and action taken on your behalf back to your doctor. Again, these firms are rather expensive.
Next on the ladder, are the firms with only are with only 20 or 30 lawyers. They don’t have any associates but may have 2 or 3 young lawyer’s fresh out of law school. Each of the lawyers may specialize in one or two areas of law. Again, they will have a good supporting staff. Namely paralegals my favorite profession. Just not as many, which means the paralegals may be assisting two or more of the lawyers in the firm. Unlike the larger firms you will see a bit more of your lawyer.
In these last 2 types of firms, a partner or a couple of firm’s associates may become passionate about a particular issue. In this case these lawyers will help but with that issue. However, these lawyers will have set up their own rules and regulations to qualify for their help.
Next week I want to talk about the Independents and Firm specialties