The trouble with civil Gideon

by Ted Frank on August 8, 2008

In the latest Liability Outlook, I rebut the ABA’s resolution for guaranteed taxpayer funding of civil lawyers for the poor, expanding on my earlier ACS talk:

[The poor] will trade higher rents and higher taxes for the right to legal services that often will not help them.. . . [P]arties with meritorious cases will find it harder to signal to overwhelmed judges that their cases are distinguishable from the vast majority of meritless cases with appointed counsel that the courts will see every day.

Larry Ribstein approves: “The ABA resolution should be seen as what it is: a justification for rent-seeking by the organized bar.”

{ 1 comment }

1 JTT 08.10.08 at 8:46 am

Only one problem I see with the notion that this is rent-seeking behavior. I absolutely hate getting appointed to cases, as does nearly every lawyer. The reimbursement rates are typically very low. (Perhaps in other states they are higher, but I doubt it.)

I don’t see many lawyers viewing civil appointments as anything but a drag, therefore I don’t think there is a rent-seeking behavior here. I think this is just old school liberalism at its worst.

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