Posts tagged as:

civil gideon

Pitching a civil-Gideon entitlement as salvation to economically insecure faculty and administrators in legal academia [Edward Rubin via Caron, TaxProf]

Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on October 4, 2013

  • You might as well live: estate and inheritance tax make it highly inadvisable to die as a Maryland resident [TaxProf]
  • “Foreclosures: The Chickens Come Home to Roost” [Calvert Institute, earlier]
  • Courts task force created earlier this year will study costly and open-ended Civil Gideon proposals [courts]
  • For your own good: state’s commissioner of financial regulation goes after banks that service payday lenders [Funnell]
  • Governor candidates angle for union support, bids include “greater use of collective bargaining agreements on state construction projects” [WaPo]
  • Really, it won’t kill you to respect people’s consciences on Frederick County boards and commissions [Bethany Rodgers, Frederick News Post on Pledge of Allegiance controversy, update, Ken at Popehat ("Freedom of conscience is like the good couch in the living room; it's there to be had, not to be used."), Gene Healy background] About time: city may ease restrictions on bed and breakfasts [Jen Bondeson, Frederick News Post]
  • Only a handful of states join Maryland in policy of unionizing home child carers [Go Local Providence, more]

The immigration bill would give many deportees free attorneys [Slate]


Maryland roundup

by Walter Olson on October 14, 2012

  • Md. Access to Justice Commission pushes controversial Civil Gideon, lopsided fee shift rules [report]
  • Montgomery County voters will decide on extending police collective bargaining [WaPo]
  • “Baltimore: The city that sues the banks” [Fortune]
  • “New Pit Bull Dog Bite Law in Maryland? Not So Fast” [Ron Miller, earlier] “Landlords Held Responsible For Pit Bull Injuries; Tenants Face Eviction and Legal Battle” [CBS Baltimore]
  • Maryland pays far higher fees to investment managers for its pension fund than most states do. How’d that happen? And should states rely on index investments instead? [Governing]
  • Legislature not final word? State’s high court mulls ditching contributory for comparative fault [WaPo]
  • Business appalled at Montgomery County Council bill requiring 90 day severance to service contractors’ employees [Washington Examiner, Gazette]


September 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 9, 2011

  • Not a parody: economics professor sets off debate on “ugly rights” with suggestion of making unattractiveness of appearance a protected discrimination-law category [Daniel Hamermesh/NYT, PoL, Eric Crampton, Jon Hyman] Apparently Niall Ferguson needn’t worry [Telegraph]
  • Feds sue banks and more than 130 executives, demanding billions over their role in the mortgage crisis; new “tobacco/asbestos” predicted [Biz Insider, more, yet more] Takes some cheek to cast Fannie and Freddie as victims [John Berlau, CEI]
  • Also on mortgages: Rahm Emanuel’s unsound new “lender must cut the grass” ordinance [Funnell] California AG sues lawyers, telemarketers over class action loan modification scheme; lawyer fires back with civil rights suit [AP, ABA Journal] New York chief judge wants state to fund more lawyers to resist enforcement of mortgages [PoL]
  • Related to last, on Civil Gideon’s “‘impossible dream’ of giving every civil litigant a lawyer” [Benjamin Barton & Stephanos Bibos, SSRN via Instapundit]
  • Fallen tree damage from all these storms? Think twice before taking your neighbor to court [Ilya Somin]
  • Stories you read here first: wider coverage for EEOC suit against trucking company for not letting alcoholic drive [Fox, earlier]
  • Illinois advocates plan push for punitive civil suits against johns, strip club owners, sex-ad websites [NYT]


“… that a lawyer’s participation makes judicial proceedings more fair, not less fair.” So should we be shocked that the U.S. Supreme Court does not partake of this article of faith? [earlier on Turner v. Rogers and Civil Gideon] Related: Are we sure we want judges who are “great lawyers”? [Chiang, Prawfs, Greenfield]


June 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 27, 2011


March 30 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 30, 2011

  • “Woman Sues Adidas After Fall She Blames on Sticky Shoes” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Texas lawmakers file loser pays proposals [SE Tex Record] Actual scope of proposals hard to discern through funhouse lens of NYT reporting [PoL] Marie Gryphon testimony on loser-pays proposals in Arkansas [Manhattan Institute, related]
  • Google awarded patent on changing of logo for special days [Engadget via Coyote]
  • “Civil Gideon in Deadbeat Dad Cases Would Be ‘Massive’ Change, Lawyer Tells Justices” [Weiss, ABA Journal, Legal Ethics Forum]
  • Amateur-hour crash-fakers in Bronx didn’t reckon on store surveillance camera [NY Post]
  • “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in Cobell Defend $223M Fee Request” [BLT]
  • Show of harm not needed: FDA kicks another 500 or so legacy drugs off market, this time in the cold-and-cough area [WaPo]
  • “Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Rough Justice Without Due Process” [Andrew Trask, WLF]

New York chief judge Jonathan Lippman floats a highly dubious idea that would build toward that even more dubious program of full employment for lawyers known as Civil Gideon. [NY Times, Alkon]


But Ted Frank explains why creating a new entitlement to taxpayer-paid civil lawyers is a bad idea [New York Daily News, PoL]:

As any economist would tell you, if you lower the price of something, you get more demand for it. If it becomes completely costless to bring suit, we will see many more meritless suits.

That’s no small problem in New York, where courts are already overloaded.

If a dispute over shelter entitles a cantankerous tenant to a free attorney on the government’s dime, it will be much easier for people to fight evictions when they violate a lease in ways that threaten other tenants or intentionally refuse to pay rent. Landlords, in turn, will have to hire their own attorneys and raise rents and costs for their honest tenants.

Not unrelated: U.S. is granting asylum requests far more often than formerly. Why might that be? [Ted's answer]


May 24 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 24, 2010


I give an interview to KALW on the question, a question I’ve written about at length.

January 27 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 27, 2010


November 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 4, 2009

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California civil Gideon

by Ted Frank on October 27, 2009

California has enacted the nation’s first “civil Gideon” law, providing free counsel to litigants in child custody and eviction cases. I’m quoted in the Wall Street Journal’s article, saying why that may not be such a good idea.


TV’s biggest lawyer-advertiser is Boston’s James Sokolove, whose ad budget of $20 million/year makes him a widely recognized figure (and much parodized on YouTube). He’s reportedly offered $1,500 apiece for mesothelioma leads, seen his name in an episode of “The Sopranos”, and even advertised for patent plaintiffs. Turns out he hasn’t seen the inside of a courtroom in nearly thirty years, instead farming out his callers to others. [Boston mag via Ambrogi] “The message behind his ads, he says, is simple: Injured? Free money.”

Now his Sokolove Charitable Fund is giving him a shot at new respectability with help from no less august an institution than Stanford Law School (thank you, Prof. Deborah Rhode), It’s bankrolling something called the Roadmap to Justice Project, which will push the much-criticized-in-this-space “Civil Gideon” idea (a newly invented Constitutional entitlement to taxpayer coverage of lawyers’ fees in civil lawsuits).


Well, I have to be encouraged that, when confronted with my argument against civil Gideon, this was the best the Drum Major Institute could come up with to respond (it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a rebuttal).  Compare and contrast the arguments I actually made–and the reasoning given for my conclusions–with the characterizations in the DMI report, and then ask yourself why one of organizations leading the fight for civil Gideon doesn’t dare engage those arguments.


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.”

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