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475 comments

Associated costs (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870230)

But you know, lawyers have costs too. For example they need to pay their office, wages, taxes, and paper isn't free either. The students itself didn't have any costs and I doubt they would had win the case without a lawyer, don't you think?

Re:Associated costs (2, Insightful)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870328)

How's that a troll? Usually the agreement is for the lawyer to get a healthy cut on a spec case, since the only payment they get is if they win.

Re:Associated costs (1, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870426)

...people expect lawyers (and everyone else) to work for free.

With this sense of proletariat entitlement you would think that we were all posting from the Soviet Union rather than the US of A and Western Europe.

Although the percentage here is a bit much. Somewhere around 1/3rd is more the norm.

Although most people have only two choices: Allow for the "thick percentage" or have no representation at all.

Re:Associated costs (5, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870584)

...people expect lawyers (and everyone else) to work for free.

Not quite. Continue on for my explanation...

Although most people have only two choices: Allow for the "thick percentage" or have no representation at all.

That's why people are pissed. They know that your options are extremely limited, and they take advantage of that fact by charging pretty much whatever they want.

Re:Associated costs (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870612)

I should also note that a six-figure education doesn't help lawyer costs, either...the price payed for a lawyer's education is just as ludicrous as the price they charge their clients.

Re:Associated costs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870894)

the price payed for a lawyer's education is just as ludicrous

Apparently it costs that much to teach someone how to spell.

Wow, just... wow (2, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870592)

So, it's OK to have a society where a group that produces absolutely nothing (e.g. what we call a 'parasitic class') can pocket 2/3 of our wealth? This the really what's wrong with America. Instead of asking how we can fix this awful situation we're busy asking how we can be the guy that gets paid $400k to fill out a little paperwork.

Re:Wow, just... wow (4, Insightful)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870642)

So services are useless? I suppose you think garbage men shouldn't be paid, since all they do is feed off the remnants of society and do a job that anyone could easily do themselves?

Re:Wow, just... wow (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870784)

If the cost for garbage pickup were $1000 a month, I think I would reasonably conclude that garbage men were useless and shouldn't be paid.

Re:Wow, just... wow (4, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870912)

He didn't say they were useless. He said that 2/3 of the settlement is ridiculous, and it is. Agents make 5-20% cuts to do the same thing(negotiate, draft paperwork, follow regulations, etc).

The problem is with the percentage, not the fact the guy was paid for his work.

Re:Wow, just... wow (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870722)

You're a fucking moron. If you don't want to use the service, then don't. No one is forcing you/them to use a high priced lawyer. They knew the terms and they agreed.

I suppose you do something that contributes greatly to society. Oh- wait. You just sit around bitching about life on Slashdot.

Re:Wow, just... wow (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870726)

Short answer is that he doesn't get to keep it. There's whatever he gets to keep as a part of his salary, but there's the cost of the paralegals, office, professional literature, time spent interviewing witnesses, time spent researching the case and coming up with a strategy. There's a lot of work that goes into the practice of practicing law.

Plus, if the case was taken on contingency, which it looks like it was, he has to worry about the possibility of losing and ending up being paid nothing. Which can and does happen, there's a reason why attorneys work so hard to keep things out of the courts, the jury can be very unpredictable at times.

Re:Wow, just... wow (0, Flamebait)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870890)

I worked for contingency lawyers. They don't take cases that have even the slightest chance of losing.

Also, they charge less contingency if they settle, so if this lawyer was truly shrewd, he would have taken this to the court room (to get a higher fee).

Re:Wow, just... wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870954)

Maybe your lawyers never took a case they couldn't win, but in general that is highly innacurate. Lawyers working on contingency cases lose all the time.

Re:Wow, just... wow (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870826)

Uh, the guy "produced" a $600,000 settlement because he filled out "a little paperwork".

Without his representation there would have likely been no settlement.

This isn't 1890s America. We don't value services based on the trading rate of beaver pelt.

Re:Associated costs (3, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870700)

...people expect lawyers (and everyone else) to work for free.

Indeed how DARE the proles expect the legal system to function without ludicrous fees!

Re:Associated costs (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870742)

"I got your legal system right here ::lifts toy shotgun::" -My grandfather while watching My Cousin Vinny.

I'm not kidding.

Re:Associated costs (0, Flamebait)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870710)

No, it's not that; it's the perception that lawyers are making a bit more than the $48/hr the average person makes. The lawyer worked 6 months, at 40hr/wk that's $340/hr? Of course lawyers work for free: every so often, a lawyer must do volunteer work as a "public defender."

The problem of course is lawyers have to familiarize themselves with law, case law, and everything else relevant to the law. Yes, they're evil underhanded money-sucking bastards; but their work is costly to their lives. I dare say being a lawyer is severely character-damaging and somewhat like being in jail: the lawyer life is brutal and cutthroat, and in the end even a valiant "Defender of the Unfortunate" who actually tries to take on cases with a horrible imbalance of fairness is going to make zero reaching difference in the world. Their lives are a complete waste.

Re:Associated costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870940)

> people expect lawyers (and everyone else) to work for free.

Consider that this lawyer will have put in the minimum number of hours required during the course of the trial ( once his minimum-wage para-legal had looked-up the relevant legislation and case law ) and will have had several other cases in progress, as well as many notary responsibilities. An hour of work before each court appearance is a generous estimate.

The $425,000 isn't the only income that he brought back for himself and his staff in this period. He wouldn't have starved if he'd "only" charged a tenth of that.

Re:Associated costs (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870334)

The student's school took photos using the webcam on their laptop.

Do you really need an answer to your question?

Re:Associated costs (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870780)

Trials aren't about finding out who is right. If it were that simple we wouldn't have attorneys. There's a lot of things that can go wrong, there's a lot of procedural rules that can sink a case quite quickly.

There's an old saying, that a man who defends himself has a fool for a client. And there's a good reason why folks say that.

Re:Associated costs (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870902)

I'd say it depends on the situation and that person's knowledge of law. For example, if I was sued by someone, I would absolutely get a lawyer. If I was sued by someone back when I was working as a mechanic that related to my being a mechanic, I would likely have represented myself...I made sure to familiarize myself with the law surrounding that particular job because of the very nature of it. Luckily, I never had to use that knowledge...but it was good having it at the time.

Fuck you. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870234)

I'm bored...

Shocker (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870286)

Are people still surprised when the lawyers get the payout at the end?

The vast majority of lawyers are scum that leach off of the rest of society. Remember, judges are also lawyers.

Re:Shocker (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870492)

The vast majority of lawyers are scum that leach off of the rest of society. Remember, judges are also lawyers.

Exactly, we should go back to the simple days when people appointed by the king made arbitrary decisions based on their mood and how much people bribed them. That was much better.

Irony (4, Funny)

gatzby3jr (809590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870300)

And the irony is? All the money came from the tax payers.

Re:Irony (3, Insightful)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870410)

That's not really ironic, seeing as those taxpayers voted the idiots onto the school board. It seems pretty appropriate to me. If I hire an employee who does something stupid on behalf of the company, I have to suffer for it. Taxpayers have to suffer for their bad hires, too.

Re:Irony (0, Troll)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870566)

Except that the taxpayers rarely get any say in who they "hire" when the corporate jungle owns all the media outlets and can pretty much dictate who the voters even know are on the ballot.

Re:Irony (1)

CraftyJack (1031736) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870870)

I don't think the "corporate jungle" cares much to dictate the results of the school board elections in Lower Merion, PA. Seems more like a lawn signs and flyers at the train station kind of thing.

Re:Irony (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870732)

1 Donate money to dimwitted politicians running for low turn out positions like school boards

2 Make them do really stupid things

3 Sue the school board and collect class action damages

4 Give the pols their share from the collection

5 ...

6 profit!

Lather, rinse and repeat!

Re:Irony (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870872)

That's not really ironic, seeing as those taxpayers voted the idiots onto the school board. It seems pretty appropriate to me. If I hire an employee who does something stupid on behalf of the company, I have to suffer for it. Taxpayers have to suffer for their bad hires, too.

Most of those taxpayers don't want that responsibility and see no benefit to the "hires." Furthermore, how would -any- voter have known that the school board would appoint staff that were so draconian that they'd start spying on kids? That's not exactly information that's tattooed on canidates' heads.

With stories where something bad happens to someone, it seems like there's always a large group of slashdotters who try to rationalize it, saying something along the lines of "Well, the victims did something stupid, so they deserved it." Is it just that we like kicking people who are down, or is it more along the lines of "... and I'm not stupid, so I'm comforted by fooling myself into thinking similar bad things can never happen to me,"?

Re:Irony (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870602)

According to TFA, the insurance company covered it. Admittedly the cost will filter down into the premiums, but the taxpayer didn't take a significant hit here (although as another post points out, hiring morons has a financial cost, and this is just an example of that).

What struck me as odd is that one student got $175k and the other only got $10k.

Re:Irony (1)

olddoc (152678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870606)

The money came from the kids! They would have had the extra $425,000 if the lawyers didn't take the cut.

Re:Irony (2, Funny)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870956)

The money came from the kids! They would have had the extra $425,000 if the lawyers didn't take the cut.

Yes, I'm sure two teenagers would have been able to negotiate a $600k settlement using Wikipedia or YouTube.

Re:Irony (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870750)

No, the ironic part is that as part of the settlement, the lawyer will get most of the footage obtained from the school's spying.

Lawyers... (3, Insightful)

ihatejobs (1765190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870304)

Lawyers are legalized crooks, news at 11. The world would be a better place without them. The fact that we need specialized professions to be able to properly navigate the legal system is, well, downright stupid.

Re:Lawyers... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870346)

Exactly. If not for the lawyers, the students would be getting nothing and the school would still be spying on them. Same thing with computers, why do we need speciallized professionals to write software, or care for the sick, or fly airplanes?

Re:Lawyers... (3, Insightful)

ihatejobs (1765190) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870466)

You honestly think that the lawyer in this case deserves to get over double the payout that the students received? Oh wait never mind, your a troll. No sane person would think that.

The lawyers pay in this case is beyond ridiculous. For the amount of work they do they are almost as overpaid as sports "professionals" who earn millions of dollars to play a fucking game.

Re:Lawyers... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870640)

You honestly think that the lawyer in this case deserves to get over double the payout that the students received? Oh wait never mind, your a troll. No sane person would think that.

Without his work the students wouldn't have gotten anything, because they never hired anyone - he worked for nothing in order to get a payout, why shouldn't he get the bulk. If the students wanted the bulk, they could have actually hired someone and paid upfront for their work.

Re:Lawyers... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870604)

Programmers don't earn $425,000 for eight months of work.

Plus you don't have to hire programmers. You can just pick up a book and learn programming yourself. The same can't be said about legalese. Programming languages are designed to be readable (except perl ;), while legalese is designed to be as unreadable as possible.

Re:Lawyers... (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870778)

Actually it's designed by the courts. Initially the law was pretty simple. You could pick up Blackstone and probably be a pretty good jackleg lawyer. The problem is that over the years, lawyers have continued to find loopholes in the law. At first it was easy, "the law didn't say I couldn't hit him with a hammer, only that I couldn't shoot him". So the courts had to add in "and you can't hit him with a hammer either". The more times a loophole was found, the more the law changed to account for the loophole.

So the law is very precise and the language around it too. It's gone from spirit of the law to letter of the law. You need lawyers to read the law and find that little loophole where your client can get off on a technicality.

[John]

Re:Lawyers... (4, Insightful)

rtaylor (70602) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870854)

Sure they do. There are lots of small software shops that easily charge that amount for 8 months work; and just see what happens if you want 8 months work out of a 4 man development team at your local IBM shop.

More to the point, what would you expect a developer to charge if their payment was dependent on financial success of the product they created? I.e. The software shop gets nothing if the software doesn't make money.

Re:Lawyers... (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870646)

"The world would be a better place without them" - seriously? If they're all dead today I'm sure there's a bunch of people eventually will be come what you called 'lawyers'. Without the use of professionals, maybe we'll rely on the government or judges to kindergarten the parties involved in each case, sorta like Judge Judy? So we're looking at big tax raise for it, maybe unless we televise all the drama online. Or maybe we can just all move to a place where judgments are made very rapidly - how about China? Seriously, is there a better alternative or the so-called democratic society we live it today?

Re:Lawyers... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870698)

Lawyers are legalized crooks, news at 11. The world would be a better place without them. The fact that we need specialized professions to be able to properly navigate the legal system is, well, downright stupid.

Plumbers are legalized crooks, news at 11. The world would be a better place without them. The fact that we need specialized professions to be able to properly navigate the plumbing system is, well, downright stupid.

Coders are legalized crooks, news at 11. The world would be a better place without them. The fact that we need specialized professions to be able to properly navigate the computer system is, well, downright stupid.

Garbage men are legalized crooks, news at 11. The world would be a better place without them. The fact that we need specialized professions to be able to properly navigate the refuse system is, well, downright stupid.

Bonus: Unlike the examples I used above, you can, as a citizen in a democratic country, change the laws so that specialists become superfluous. This really is on you as much as any lawyer.

Re:Lawyers... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870760)

FACT: Laws are vague and hard to read BECAUSE LAWYERS WRITE THEM.

FACT: Lawyers write laws like that to confuse the layman and cloud the issues.

FACT: The entire world would be a better place without lawyers and any law penned by a lawyer or is more than 100 words in length and can not be understood easily by a person with an 8th grade education.

What I get sick of is that Lawyers retire to become Judges.. So they can perpetuate their "good ol' boy" network and scratch the backs of those that scratched theirs when they were younger.

This is how it has been for centuries.. The USA simply modeled their system to match the corrupted practices that europe had running already.

Want to make things fair and honest?

No lawyer can EVER be a judge.
No law can be over 1000 words in length and must be distilled down to be easily understood by anyone.

Innocent until proven guilty needs to be real. The prosecution has to produce all the evidence to prove guilt. Right now you have to work like hell to prove you are innocent while the prosecuting attorney can make wild speculations. You should be able to sit there quietly and still win a case if you are honest.

Any lawyer that introduces any fabricated evidence is instantly disbarred for life.

Any judge found to be dishonest get the death penalty by public hanging or public firing squad.

I also would prefer that dirty cops be beaten to death publicly as well.

Re:Lawyers... (1)

cfulton (543949) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870836)

If I had mods I'd mod you up. Yeah ok, the students need to lawyers or they won't win the case. But, that does not mean that a fair cut for the lawyers is 70% of the take. Even on spec that is outrageous. If a stock broker to 70% of your earnings you would get a new stock broker. You might need him to play the market but that would be an criminal percentage of the cut. Maybe it is the fault of the kids for picking the wrong legal firm? I can't believe that the solution is a new law. Then you would just have to hire a lawyer to hire a lawyer. Lawyers are legalized crooks but we are the ones who allow them continue to operate as such.

Re:Lawyers... (4, Insightful)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870944)

Indeed, why, all those lawyers, WTF did they do for Rosa Parks, and black kids wanting the same education as the white kids and all those other minorities who wanted to have the same rights as the majority, like being able to vote?

And the lawyers here in Massachusetts, who convinced the Supreme Judicial Court that, yes, gay people do indeed have the right to marry, lazy bastards, all they did was point to a couple of amendments in the Constitution and the Commonwealth charter!

And DO NOT get me started on the Southern Poverty Law Center! Suing Klansmen and Nazis just because they like to beat up and murder people.

Yeah, get rid of all the lawyers.

Until YOU need one, of course.

Thank you for proving the truth of Ted Nelson's comment about fools and computers.

Should have held-out for more money (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870310)

Which is why the parents should have held-out for more money. If for example the damages were 2 million, the lawyer would get his 425,000*, and the students would get 1.6 million. The fact the parents chose to accept such a paltry sum merely demonstrates a poor decision on their part.

*
* Actually the lawyer only gets ~$220,000. The rest goes to taxes. So gov't made-out big too.

Re:Should have held-out for more money (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870402)

Which is why the parents should have held-out for more money. If for example the damages were 2 million, the lawyer would get his 425,000*, and the students would get 1.6 million.

And what do you think the lawyer was advising the parents to do? He already gets his cut.

Re:Should have held-out for more money (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870460)

The parents should have convened a Lynch mob but that sort of thing is frowned upon in civilized society.

Some jail time for the perpetrators would have been more appropriate but quite often the system is not going to care about you or your problems.

An imperfect bludgeon beats none at all.

Re:Should have held-out for more money (4, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870470)

It may not be a poor decision. We don't have enough information to decide that. (We also don't have enough information to decide if the lawyer was overpaid, underpaid, or appropriately paid. But, O Slashdot, don't let lack of knowledge get in the way of your prejudices about other vocations.) In settling a lawsuit, both sides have the same decision to make: What is the marginal risk of holding out for that next dollar? If you don't take the current offer, do the odds of getting more tomorrow weigh favorably against the odds of getting less tomorrow?

Re:Should have held-out for more money (1)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870914)

* Actually the lawyer only gets ~$220,000. The rest goes to taxes. So gov't made-out big too.

Isn't it taxpayer money anyway? So the government basically just does a little extra paperwork.

QED (3, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870324)

This lawyer has proven that lawyer-driven lawsuits are a critical part of keeping the high-paid lawyer system intact.

as usual... (4, Informative)

alanshot (541117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870340)

the only winners in class action lawsuits are the lawyers.

Re:as usual... (1, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870488)

I don't know about that. I'm pretty happy about some of the class action lawsuits that have resulted in a lower likelihood of banks and pharmaceutical companies screwing me over, even though I never got a dime from them being settled or tried.

Not so fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870616)

Don't for a second think that the business of government doesn't benefit from the ridiculously complex, ambiguous, and corrupt system of law. It costs billions of dollars per year to administer the whole thing.

The more laws, and the more lawsuits, the more money being raked through the business of government each year. Therefore, those at the top of the pyramid are better positioned to exploit that cash flow for personal gain, whether directly or (more commonly) indirectly. They have an incentive to encourage more lawsuits, not less.

Re:as usual... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870686)

Thats because the class doesn't lose anything if the case doesn't go their way - the lawyer representing the class is the one bearing the risk.

Re:as usual... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870882)

You do realize that in a typical class action suit, the attorneys work for sometimes years free of charge waiting to get a settlement or award. By that time the amount of work they've done for free genuinely adds up to that sort of money. They don't typically collect anything unless there's a settlement or the jury awards them the money.

Consequently, they end up making a lot of money as a result. If you want cheaper representation, all you have to do is get your own attorney and pay as you go. Most if not all attorneys charge less in that kind of situation than when they have to go on a contingency basis.

I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870364)

IANAL, probably there are reasons for this; but I'd greatly appreciate a car analogy that helps me understand why the settlement was split that way.

Re:I don't understand (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870500)

They were awarded 610,000 Subaru Imprezas. 185,000 Subaru Imprezas will be put in a garage for the students, and the lawyer gets 425,000 Subaru Imprezas. Hope that helps.

Re:I don't understand (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870634)

A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.

"Their lawyer" ( +1, Helpful ) (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870396)

  is a thief.

Yours In Moscow,
Kilgore Trout.

Less than ideal (5, Insightful)

oracleguy01 (1381327) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870398)

I am glad they won and I don't particularly care that the lawyers are getting paid the majority of the settlement. What I do care about is that the people actually responsible aren't going to be punished. The settlement will be paid by the district's insurance policy and the people actually responsible will get to walk away.

Re:Less than ideal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870570)

Not only that but that money has to come from somewhere. The insurance company will increase rates, drop them (requiring a new more expensive company), or whatever. You know where that money comes from? The people that pay taxes! (ie. the people that received the settlement)

In this case nobody won except the lawyers. In fact in the end it's essentially a negative against the tax payers were their taxes are going right to the lawyers. Combined with the lack of any real punishment, it would have been better if no suit was filed at all! Would have saved everyone money.

-gate (4, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870404)

I'm hoping eventually we run out of stuff to attach "gate" to.

Re:-gate (3, Funny)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870518)

You're right! Adding -gate to things is the NEW SCANDAL! WE'll call it... Gategate!

And that we be the -gate to end all -gates.

Re:-gate (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870608)

What about the Microsoft over invoicing and over billing the customers? The Bill Gate. It has happened more than once. So we need to really publicize Bill Gates.

Re:-gate (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870850)

pft, this is just a cheap cynical bid to get some mod points. The slashdot community won't stand for this gategategate.

Wrong charges, no good outcome possible. (5, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870418)

Tough call for me, on this one.

On the one hand, I don't even bother participating in the various class actions suits I qualify for, because my dignity costs more than a $5 gift certificate. The lawyers in those situations should make far, far less.

In this situation, though, that really amounts to a pittance for even a small legal team, perhaps three lawyers plus their supporting staff, working for a solid two months on the case; Unfortunately, this one had no big corporate pockets to raid, and even in winning, the community (rather than the school administration) suffers. So a bigger payout that might really have given the kids something to enjoy, wouldn't have counted as a win for anyone.

Personally, I'd much rather have seen the school administration facing child porn charges, and no civil penalties involved. Then, and only then, could we have seen a "win" here.

Re:Wrong charges, no good outcome possible. (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870846)

On the one hand, I don't even bother participating in the various class actions suits I qualify for, because my dignity costs more than a $5 gift certificate. The lawyers in those situations should make far, far less.

This is stupid. Why do people bitch that they get $5 out of a CA?

Let's see. 300 million people in the US population. 60 million affected. 30 million sign onto the CA suit. Lawyer gets $30 million of a $150 million judgment. Each person gets $4, and the lawyer works for $1/person.

As always! (4, Insightful)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870432)

It's always the lawyers who win. Always the lawyers.

The RIAA fighting piracy? Lawyers make millions. Microsoft asserting its software patents? Lawyers make millions. Porn studios want to sue a bunch of people? They call Andrew Crossley. Layers make millions. Andrew Crossley leaks the database of his victims? Sue him. Lawyers make millions. Someone calls you a dick on the internet? Sue him. Lawyers make millions. A hospital patient dies? Sue the doctors! Lawyers make millions. etc etc etc

Where does all that money come from? Of course, we as good little consumers and taxpayers, pay for everything. It's not the shareholders that lose money -- companies have an obligation to keep them happy -- but they have no obligation towards their customers or any need to keep prices reasonable.

Re:As always! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870704)

I think that insulating the shareholders from anything but the bottom line has a lot to do with things.

Even if they did care how a company got there, they are still blind unless they make a major effort to investigate, and considering how the management usually likes to shut them out, it's often more convenient to just sit back and collect dividend checks.

Windfall profit tax (2, Interesting)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870446)

Maybe we can apply some oil company resentment and institute a Windfall Profit Tax, just to spread the wealth around a little. Na, this would take an act of Congress, members of which are mostly lawyers.

Re:Windfall profit tax (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870526)

These lawyers are already going to get hit with a "Windfall Profit Tax".

That's how things work in the real world. Individuals and small companies get creamed on their taxes. It's the megacorps that manage to get all the breaks. ...so a lot of this is going straight back to the Feds.

Parents (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870454)

The sad part for the parents is that they really have no legal alternative to suing themselves.

I have to wonder (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870506)

What was the Lawyer doing in the secret pictures taken by the school laptops?
Cocaine, the children, padding the bill? Anything is possible,and not a clue in the article.

Welcome to Obama's America (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870532)

Trial lawyers are up there with SEIU, teacher's unions, the UAW, gay marriage proponents, and Muslims as the holiest of interest groups.

Free Legal care! (3, Insightful)

olddoc (152678) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870556)

Where is the call for the US governemt to take over Legal care?
Isn't legal care a right? Isn't $425,000 a big bill to be paid?
Where are the liberals and the Democrats in calling for Lawyers to be paid like Doctors?
How about a system of free legal care for everyone with lawyers paid according to a scale set by the governemnt? Spying on kids = $8,000 fee, not $425,000.
Unlike Obamacare, this really could save taxpayers money.

I just wish Congress did unto lawyers what they do unto doctors.....

Re:Free Legal care! (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870862)

How many doctors provide services on a contingent basis?

Lawyers who provide services for fees, like doctors (and accountants and engineers for that matter), will always make less than those who make the big kill on a contingent item - whether it's a lawsuit, a real estate transaction, a VC funding, or a creative work.

It's not often this gets said to a medical doctor, but don't be disappointed that the career you chose doesn't pay as well as others.

Re:Free Legal care! (1)

billius (1188143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870908)

You mean like this?

"The person in custody must, prior to interrogation, be clearly informed that he or she has the right to remain silent, and that anything the person says will be used against that person in court; the person must be clearly informed that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning, and that, if he or she is indigent, an attorney will be provided at no cost to represent her or him." source [wikipedia.org]

Of course, this doesn't apply to civil cases, but the general idea is there.

Was this on a contingency basis? (0)

MunchMunch (670504) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870754)

If this was a class action suit on a contingency, then it's not really all that unfair or surprising. A lawyer might put in hundreds of hours of very real, hard work before even getting to trial, and then have to perform well during trial, and then finally have to leave the jury's decision up to chance to some extent.

It's a huge gamble for such a lawyer. It seems like they're assholes, but in honesty, if they took it on contingency, it's really not a bad situation for the client, and the lawyer is taking a bigger risk. If they lose, the client pays nothing and the lawyer is out of hundreds of hours of work. If they win, the client gets X dollars that they wouldn't have and the lawyer gets a big payoff.

Now, don't get me wrong-- for class actions where the settlement or judgment is more or less "a free voucher for a french fry," but the lawyers collect millions, that's slimy and awful.

Definitions (3, Funny)

Intron (870560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870814)

Attorney - An honest, well-educated representative of my interests before the court.

Shyster - The low-life, lying dirtbag representing my opponent.

What about the other students (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870818)

it looks like only 2 students will get any money (and only one gets much).
I find it strange that while we know that this happened to all the students only one or two of them gets any compensation.

$425 an hour if you figure 1000 hours worked (1, Insightful)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870828)

at 40 hours a week 1000 billable hours comes out to 10 months of work, which is how long the case has been in the news. nothing greedy about it

not like the lawyer keeps everything. there are office expenses, salaries for paralegals, business taxes, personal taxes, benefits and a long list of other expenses that have to be paid before they can take some money home to pay their personal expenses.

  on another forum i frequent there is a lawyer who lives in this school district and he drives a toyota. most lawyers see about the same percentage as music artists get on CD sales after they pay all the expenses

No, we all win. (2, Insightful)

bedroll (806612) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870832)

I don't get this attitude that the lawyers are the only winners. Sure, they're the big financial winners here. This was never a case about lost funds, though. It was a case in which the students sought both relief from invasive practices and a punitive sum to discourage further similar actions. They won on both counts, and since no school district wants to shell out over half a mil because they spied on their students it should be a win for the privacy of teens everywhere.

Something is wrong here... (1)

Anomalyx (1731404) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870918)

It would have been an unfair distraction for our students and staff and it would have cost taxpayers additional dollars that are better devoted to education.

The district issues Apple laptops to all 2,300 students at its two high schools.

They have NO right to use finances as an excuse.

The proper solution is a settlement such as this, but split to every student that was spied on, PLUS jail time for those who made the call to do it. Bring that wiretapping charge back!

who cares about the money (5, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33870946)

who got sacked for doing this? Who's going to jail? who's being charged with pedophilia? Who's on the sex crime watch list because of this?

Because if the answer is no one then justice was not served and no one learned any lessons 'Cept that Lawyers charge a lot for their services.

Sickos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33870962)

What we have here is a case where every article of trust that the parents put in the school was broken. Somebody SHOULD BE IN JAIL. I'm not going to allow any child of mine to have a school issue laptop in their room without the webcam being physically disabled. Even if this means that I have to put duct tape over the lens myself.

I seriously cannot believe that nobody was sent down as a sex offender. It sounds like a case of the fed protecting their own. One branch of the government protecting another. What is it going to take to get a prosecution?

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