How Lawyers Cheat and Swindle Their Clients – Chapter 1 – Scheming Lawyers

Posted on Jan 01, 2016

EZ Diet Comment: This is Chapter 1 of the free eBook below. This is what you need to know if you’re ever sued, or decide to sue someone else. Unless more people recognize this problem and become conscious of the extent to which lawyers and the legal system manipulate the general public, the situation can only deteriorate further.

How Attorneys Cheat and Swindle ClientsINTRODUCTION

You’re about to hire an attorney. At least, you think you are. You have a legal problem and, although you perhaps don’t know it, your financial security is in danger. The information I’ve collected in these pages could save you a lot of money.

Reading the advice in this guide will protect you from:

– today’s corrupt legal system;

– your attorney’s billing system; and,

– legal stall tactics designed simply to increase your bill.

I can assure you, attorneys don’t want you to know what you’re about to discover here. In the past, I’ve personally spent over $600,000 in attorney fees.  Over half of the $600,000 I spent on legal issues was wasted. My attorneys worked me for that extra $300,000+ and used the corrupt legal system as their tool. My experience created the pages you’re about to read; you could save a lot of money and heartache by knowing my story.



So how do lawyers cheat and swindle us? As a client you can only suspect what’s really going on. The only way to truly know the insider scheming of lawyers is to turn to lawyers themselves. In this tight-knit, corrupt profession, there have been a few turncoats.

So what is it lawyers really do? How do they overcharge?

In most major and medium-sized law firms, the code of practice is all about collection. Collect from your clients; bill them any which way you can. Overcharging is a skill, one which the most successful lawyers hone and perfect.

How do lawyers scam their clients?

Look up the personality type of your average lawyer. The law attracts certain types of people: intelligent, argumentative, competitive, and problem-solving people. They “smell money” like sharks “smell blood” and have a determination to get back some benefit from all the work they’ve put in to being lawyers.

In law school, you see an elite cliché of academically bright, creative-types. The LSAT, the Law School Aptitude Test, is the second stage of selection. Although the test claims to identify those best suited to practice law, the test has changed dramatically during the last forty years. The test, which is responsible for the selection of our country’s lawyers, tests predominantly for verbal skills – not mathematical skills, not problem-solving skills, and not logic.

Once upon a time, law schools may also have advocated conflict avoidance. They may have instructed would-be lawyers to find the common ground between arguments, to mediate, to work out problems, and to avoid litigation.

Today, most law students graduate with the belief that there is no absolute truth in any legal argument. No right or wrong, only winning and losing.

“It makes no different which side one takes, as long as one is paid for it.”[1]

A considerable lack of integrity infects most lawyers-in-training. They also have a zeal to overwrite making the law and legal jargon appear more complicated and more important than it actually is.

The first year of law school focuses on Legal Research and Writing (how to use words in pairs, such as null and void; cease and desist).

Using two or three words where one will do is an excellent method of encryption. Lawyers encrypt the law with verboseness, disguised as an effort to be precise. According to James D. Gordon III:

The Supreme Court has refined this art [of using more words than necessary]…writing the world’s only quadruple negative: “This is not to say, however, that the prima facie case may not be met by evidence supporting a finding that a lesser degree of segregated schooling in the core city area would not have resulted even if the board had not acted as it did.” Government cryptographers have tried to decipher this for years.[2]

Law professors also teach their students how to fight. According to most sources, students are taught to argue case law, which, by definition, is a fight.

Although 90 per cent of all lawsuits filed end up being settled out of court, most of the cases settle only after clients on both sides of the dispute have spent considerable sums of money and experienced considerable disruption, to their lives, to their work, and to their finances. Being a problem-solving lawyer is not glamorous.

Lawyers are taught to advocate their client’s position regardless of whether it is morally the ‘right’ position; today’s lawyers are not even encouraged to have an opinion on whether a client’s position is legally right. In the fight between the hired gun, mercenary and the peacemaker, it is always the peacemaker/facilitator that is undercut.

Once your average aggressive, ambitious, argumentative personality-type has studied the law and graduated from law school, their next step is integration into the law industry, the world of law firms.

Competition among law firms became fierce in the 1980s; to attract the best and the brightest graduates, most law firms offered incredible starting salaries. The average starting salary for a lawyer became about $85,000 a year.

For such a prize, law firms could be selective; the biggest firms, offering the largest starting salaries have their pick of the bunch. Instead of brains and brawn, the quality they looked for and valued the most, is greed.

In the November 1992 issue of the National Jurist, it became clearer than ever what the major law firms looked for in prospective employees. “Someone who could hit the ground running,” one firm responded. In real terms, this means someone who requires little training, who generates billable hours immediately. Another source admitted they wanted candidates who were “greedy and eager”. Deduce from this information that those who aren’t interested in money, who, in Gray’s words, “look on the law as an honored profession, an art”, do not get the best or even the good jobs in this cut-throat industry. Deduce also that you’re unlikely to encounter these noble few; the bright, brilliant but reverent lawyers. They don’t tend to work for law firms that can afford the giant ads in the yellow pages.

For the unprepared, encountering the legal system – filled to the brim with ambitious, bloodthirsty, aggressive members of society – is like entering shark-infested waters. In the words of attorney-businessman Mark McCormack, “people who have sacrificed large amounts of time and money to get professional credentials – doctors, lawyers, MBAs – come away ferociously determined to get their investment back with interest – from the system and from you!” If they aren’t interested in getting the money back, they won’t survive let alone thrive in the industry.

The law industry is controlled and dominated by the money-hungry and the devious. The natural selection process of law schools and law firms employing new associates weeds out the weak-stomached. Lawyers, even the new and relatively inexperienced ones, are likely to overcharge you.

In How Not To Get Screwed By Your Attorney, former lawyer Dudley Gray is frank about the “billable hours” that most lawyers invent. Three methods of billing are typically used by lawyers: the flat fee, the contingency fee, or the hourly rate.

The flat fee is a fixed amount for a specific service. You’ll probably be charged a flat fee if you want a lawyer to process your uncontested divorce, your incorporation papers, your name change papers, or your prenuptial agreement. In some cases, you’ll also be charged a flat fee for an immigration case or for certain tax-related filings. In reality, an attorney will only charge a flat fee if the work is extremely basic; so basic, in fact, you could do the work yourself. Most attorneys send off their ‘flat fee’ work to their secretaries or their paralegals, who aren’t trained lawyers anyway. All the attorney will do is check over the papers to make sure everything is in order. Again, this is work you can do yourself.

A step up from the flat fee, the contingency fee is used in slightly more complicated cases; when you probably do need an attorney to get the result you want. The catch to the contingency fee is that you might not get any of what you want, and if you get some of it, you definitely won’t get all of it. Your attorney’s contingency fee will make sure of that.

Contingency fees are most commonly applied to personal injury cases. Most attorneys charge between 30% and 50% of any legal settlement after expenses. You’ll probably find yourself paying your attorney’s expenses regardless of whether or not you win your case. Beware of contingency fees.

Most attorneys bill their clients by the hour. The hourly rate, the third and most common method of billing, reflects a number of things about the lawyer: their reputation and experience level, their education and credentials, their office rent and their other expenses. Attorneys typically charge between $150 and $600 an hour for their services, which are diverse and extremely difficult for you, the client, to keep track of.

At this time, nine out of ten lawsuits are filed in the United States; by far the highest rate in the world. In 1995, the American Bar Foundation counted 896,000 lawyers in the United States, a number that has skyrocketed in the last ten years, to well over one million.

Not only is a new law suit filed the equivalent of every 30 seconds in the United States, there are estimated to be over 100,000 law students in the country at this time. Anyone who owns a business or has a profession (e.g. a doctor, dentist, carpenter, builder, etc) has a one in three chance of being named as a defendant in a lawsuit in the next year.

The statistics are staggering but conclusive: the legal system is out of control. With over one million lawyers, seventy percent of the world’s lawyers with only five percent of the world’s population to work with, competition for clients and for work is incredibly fierce. Lawyers have to be aggressive to get paid; it’s in their interests to persuade people they need to fight and sue left and right.

The United States now spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year in efforts to avoid liability but such exorbitant spending is only necessary because lawyers across the country push for litigation and encourage everyone to sue indiscriminately. Lawyers in the United States have made it cheaper for companies to pay them as a preemptive measure; they have also made it viable for companies.

There are, however, a number of problems with the aggressiveness of the legal system translated on a national scale. Not only is the United States practically obsessed with litigation, liability, and the law in general, it faces thirty times more lawsuits than Japan, for example, which is one of the primary trade competitors.

While lawyers are as much as five times more likely to suffer from depression, they are casting a dark cloud over the rest of the American society, starting with industry. Product innovation in the United States is severely limited by inventor and investor concerns about liability. The health care industry is also raising the cost of care in an effort to protect itself from malpractice suits, a favorite of trial lawyers. Despite being a world leader in so many respects, the United States has an overwhelming number of under-insured and uninsured citizens, including children and the elderly. Lawyers and the legal system are somewhat culpable for some of the major quality-of-life issues in this country. Unless more people recognize this problem and become conscious of the extent to which lawyers and the legal system manipulate the general public, the situation can only deteriorate further.

[1] Gray (1996) How Not To Get Screwed By Your Attorney.

[2] Gray et al, 1996.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2


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