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Pick the right defendant

August 28, 2023

David v. Goliath is a nice story, but most Davids get squashed. Suing major law firms is probably not the best way to set a precedent.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

Is it a good idea to sue major national law firms?

I expect you all to be shaking your heads. They must have done something really awful for someone to be brave — or foolish — enough to take on heavy legal hitters.

So why would a person or organization do this?

Well, apparently, to root out the systemic and historic bias against white people in this country.

A pair of lawsuits were filed last week in Florida and Texas — two states with a well-known lack of opportunity for white people — by something called American Alliance for Equal Rights, against Morrison & Foerster LLP and Perkins Coie LLP.

Oddly, neither firm is headquartered in Florida or Texas, but it’s hard to find judges in other places.

Whenever I see a name like American Alliance for Equal Rights, I figure there’s a good chance that it’s a corporate front or some guy in his basement with nothing better to do. Check out the American Alliance website and see which way you lean on this. I’m going with “some guy.” The Alliance seems to have a “President” and not much else.

Both lawsuits begin with this: “The law abhors racial discrimination. The lawyers who help administer that law are supposed to abhor it too.”

The law firms, allegedly, failed to do their abhorring by granting diversity fellowships that excluded straight white guys who can’t get jobs.

Unreasonable minds can disagree on this issue, but the “some guy” or the billionaire front may have erred here. Unless the Alliance president was the person who wanted one of those fellowships, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to begin a crusade by taking on well-resourced, giant law firms.

Universities that want to help their student bodies may have been an easy mark for this sort of thing, but not law firms that want to help themselves with diverse lawyers who can attract diverse clients.

Minorities are more qualified for what these firms need.

When this argument works for law firms, all sorts of other businesses will use it too.

Alliances should be careful what they ask for.

I expect consulting fees from Morrison & Foerster and Perkins Coie.

Law enforcement. We have an early leading candidate for Cutest Crime of the Year. A Canadian government agency, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, has issued a press release announcing a $10,000 fine imposed on the owner of a charter boat for feeding seals.

“Officers determined that Mr. Ireland was cleaning fish dockside after a fishing charter trip and was entertaining his clients by feeding the seals. Officers also noted that this activity was done in close proximity to several children at the marina.”

Those young lives will never be the same.

I should note here that the release explains that feeding seals can hurt their ability to feed themselves and can make them sick and that seals used to being fed by humans can get aggressive.

The welfare state has its drawbacks.

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