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Time To Be Creative

Here's the next Big Thing in The Law: class action arbitration appeals.

Major U. S. Supreme Court rulings are always a catalyst for creativity and the ruling last week that consumers have to abide by arbitration clauses in those agreements they never read definitely qualifies as a catalyst.

Whenever you think an issue is settled it isn't. Trust me on this.

Lawyers don't get paid to accept adversity.

But let me digress for a moment. The best thing about this ruling is that it created that rare moment when everyone seemed to be correct.

OK, not everyone. But I had the delightful experience last week of listening to a public radio interview of a couple of people on opposite sides of this issue.

One of them said class actions rarely really help consumers and do nothing but enrich lawyers.

The other one said consumers either aren't going to sue over small amounts or, if they do file arbitration claims, they mostly lose because the process is stacked in favor of big companies.

And they were both right.

Yeah, I'm a cynic, but am I wrong? (Fortunately, I can't hear you, so I'm going to assume I'm not wrong.)

It's not often you don't disagree with someone on the radio. It made me feel at peace.

But back to the future. The imaginative plaintiff lawyers are out there are going to do a couple of things. First, they'll recruit large groups of disgruntled consumers and file claims with long lists of names at the top. It's not a class if you name every party.

And you'll see more class actions in court. (The ruling, by the way, is over arbitration class claims, not regular court class claims.) If the arbitration process is unfair to a class, there's no reason why a class can't sue over it.

And then lawyers will be duly enriched.

Remember you read it here first.

LONG BEACH CUT. A while back I noted that a lawyer in Long Beach cut in line at the courthouse there while insisting he had the right to do so because he was a lawyer. And then, while people behind him cursed (and one woman loudly objected), he got to the window and found he was in the wrong place.

I kind of thought then that that didn't do much for the image of lawyers.

And I thought it was a fluke.

The exact same thing - with different lawyers each time - has now happened in front of me two more times in that same courthouse.

And I don't go to that courthouse very often.

I don't have an explanation for this. I'm only reporting it.

But if you're a lawyer and you think you're special - you're almost certainly in the wrong place.

BIBLICAL JUSTICE. A California law firm has been running radio ads that claim they operate according to Judaeo-Christian principles.

What do you think that means?

Again - I am a cynic. It sounded like a way to entice gullible religious potential clients.

But what if it's not? Consider the possibilities.

Can you demand an eye for an eye when suing your optometrist?

Are plagues an option for those that have wronged you?

Think of what they could do to the moneychangers in wrongful foreclosure cases.

Or do they advise clients to turn cheeks?

Their lawsuit prayers should be interesting.

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