Short version of Suzanne Gamboa's AP article: trial lawyer Mikal Watts is a really rich dude.
A friend recently asked me why trial lawyers make so much money. My friend reasoned that the law of supply and demand should lead more people to be trial lawyers.
My answer: I think that it isn't an efficient market, because most lawyers are unwilling to be trial lawyers. Trial lawyers are largely viewed within the profession as sleazy, at best. And the perception among the general perception is probably even worse. If you're a good enough lawyer, you'll make plenty of money and the easy millions of mass torts aren't enough to compensate for the loss of social stature (plus possibly the law of diminishing returns with regards to wealth).
Evan, not sure that "inefficient market" is a good answer, the truth is that there are a lot of "trial lawyers" out there, but very few good ones, and very few with the stones it takes to invest the up front capitol in a big case. The good trial lawyers are respected, the bad ones who get their referrals from chiropractors are the ones considered "sleazy" in the legal community. They are the ones who wish they could get rich like Watts and Mark Lanier.
I think your answer shows a lot of ignorance about what the legal community thinks and what its perception is, as well as what it takes to be a successful plaintiff's attorney . "easy millions" really? It's that perception , wrong as it may be, that prompted your friend's question. If it's so easy why doesn't everybody do it. that's like saying wow Bill Gates and Michale dell are rich why aren't there more people starting computer companies and getting rich?
I tend to think the trial lawyers representing insurance companies and corporate malfeasors are the sleazy ones.
Posted by Blake @ 08/10/07 11:14 AM
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