news, views and info on self-help law and pro se litigation
Abraham Lincoln will be quoted and discussed a lot today, the 198th anniversary of his birth. I thought I’d share with you a few excerpts from his Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850). Aimed at lawyers, the Lecture has good advice for pro se litigants, too. (emphases added)
- ”The leading rule for the lawyer, as for the man of every other calling, is diligence.” . . . [Perform] “the labor out of court when you have leisure, rather than in court when you have not.”
- ”[P]eople are slow to bring [a lawyer] business if he cannot make a speech. And yet there is not a more fatal error to young lawyers than relying too much on speech-making. If any one, upon his rare powers of speaking, shall claim an exemption from the drudgery of the law, his case is a failure in advance.”
- “Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. . . . A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession which should drive such men out of it.”
- ”The matter of fees is important, far beyond the mere question of bread and butter involved. Properly attended to, fuller justice is done to both lawyer and client. An exorbitant fee should never be claimed. As a general rule never take your whole fee in advance, nor any more than a small retainer. When fully paid beforehand, you are more than a common mortal if you can feel the same interest in the case, as if something was still in prospect for you, as well as for your client. And when you lack interest in the case the job will very likely lack skill and diligence in the performance.”
- “There is a vague popular belief that lawyers are necessarily dishonest. I say vague, because when we consider to what extent confidence and honors are reposed in and conferred upon lawyers by the people, it appears improbable that their impression of dishonesty is very distinct and vivid. Yet the impression is common, almost universal. Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer. Choose some other occupation, rather than one in the choosing of which you do, in advance, consent to be a knave.”
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Identify Citizen Abuseand then do something about it.
[click here] for Stark Raving Viking YouTube.com videos
[click here] for the text of letter sent to 187 elected officials mailed out this past Saturday:
Fixing Ethics in Courts and Police through Legislative ActionTo All CT Legislators: Lawyers in Elected Office is Completely Unethical (02-10-2007)
[click here] for the open email sent to elected officials sent out Jan. 31, 2007, where legislators are being critical of "elected liars" or should I say "practicing attorneys" also working in the legislative branch for the people, live on Connecticut Government Television CT-N. Lawyers should not be able to double dip in two branches of government when there is supposed to be separation of powers. The lack of ethics in Connecticut and some other states is just plain amazing.