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Dispatching the Rent-A-Lawyers


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On the topic of 'Special Appearance' attorneys:

 

Thoughts on how to kick out specially appearing attorneys?

 

I know it's not worth the effort in some instances, but sometimes it would sure be useful.

 

I know as common practice attorney's appear specially, pulled out of the hallway even.   Are there requirements around 'representation' in the law, between lawyers and clients?

 

It boggles my mind that lawyers can get pulled in from the hallway just to fill the seat much less argue for a side.

 

I'd think that it's the holy grail to kick a lawyer out of the courtroom and thus get a dismissal or win (the other side didn't show) or a continuance (thus they'd have to send an actual lawyer with a contract)

 

 

1.  Ever seen it done/heard of it being done?

2.  Point me to any actual law/code requirements that would be basis for removal?  (No evidence that they're actually a lawyer, no evidence of contract or agreement, no evidence of or authorization to 'represent', etc).

 

I'm sure it would piss a judge off if one tried, but sometimes you know you're going to lose anyway......

 

 

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Guest usctrojanalum

I dont understand why they can hire a fill in but pro se cant have their friend or loved one do it for them.

 

The former has a license to practice law, the latter does not. I do think a line should be drawn though.  Using rental attorneys for truly minor stuff like settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences, mediations, arbs, etc is all fine and dandy.   At these hearings, nothing really substantial in the case is going on.  However, trials or significant motions should be handled by the lead firm.  But I can even waiver on that. I don't find anything wrong with firms hiring attorneys with a lot of litigation experience (trials) to handle a trial for them.

 

On the topic of 'Special Appearance' attorneys:

 

1.  Ever seen it done/heard of it being done?

2.  Point me to any actual law/code requirements that would be basis for removal?  (No evidence that they're actually a lawyer, no evidence of contract or agreement, no evidence of or authorization to 'represent', etc).

 

Only problem with your theory is that you do not have standing to bring or make such a claim, only the plaintiff represented by the rent-a-lawyer would.  

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Lawyers, including rent-a-lawyers for JDB's, are officers of the court. They are highly regulated and subject to the strict control and supervision of the state bar in each state, which in many states is in turn strictly controlled by the state supreme court. If a lawyer misbehaves, a trial court judge need only look at the very last thing he filed in court, look at the upper left-hand corner for the state bar registration number, and place a single phone call to the state bar. It's that simple for a judge to get a lawyer in trouble with his or her "boss." 

 

No such control or regulation can exist as to pro se litigants, which is why it would be impossible to allow a pro se litigant to casually substitute their "friend" to walk into court on their behalf. Law firms get to do this because lawyers have done a significant amount of legwork to allow for such arrangements in advance, by attending law school, going through the state bar's admissions process, passing the character and fitness test, getting fingerprinted, etc. 

 

So, no, there is no basis I can think of to object to one attorney quickly filling in for another on a procedural matter. This is routinely done in the legal profession, and it serves as an efficient method of getting the courts' business conducted. Frankly, if such customs were prohibited, the legal fees being charged to debtors as part of these collection efforts would increase. Fees charged in collection efforts are actually quite low. In some of my practice areas, it is not at all uncommon for a lawyer to rack up $10,000 in fees to draft a single motion. 

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I would look at it this way, you as the pro se litigant usually has only one case going, this one. You have spent the time to know each motion you are preparing and filing. The rent-a-lawyer is usually coming in blind about the case and hoping to get a continuance if things go bad. The rent-a-lawyer stuff can be to our advantage.

Most of the rent-a-lawyers are either recent law school grads or those who are having a hard time grasping the practice of law as this allows them to learn in a more benign environment.

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I would look at it this way, you as the pro se litigant usually has only one case going, this one. You have spent the time to know each motion you are preparing and filing. The rent-a-lawyer is usually coming in blind about the case and hoping to get a continuance if things go bad. The rent-a-lawyer stuff can be to our advantage.

Most of the rent-a-lawyers are either recent law school grads or those who are having a hard time grasping the practice of law as this allows them to learn in a more benign environment.

 

Actually, the two rent-a-lawyers with whom I spoke during my various visits to court were both ladies in their 50's (I'd estimate).

 

Interestingly, however, they weren't bound to a specific law firm to argue a bunch of cases. They seemed to deal with cases from JDBs, OCs, and just about anyone considered a creditor.

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This issue is of major interest but more than likely there's not a thing any Court will do about it because any bar member is considered "An Officer of the Court". This is a leftover from the Perry Mason Court portrayal  of the canon of ethics and absolute correctness of the legal system. However, I wonder how many clerks, paralegals, and disbarred attorneys at some occasion have slipped in, unsuspected as an appearance lawyer,  to ply some JDB's nefarious practice of abusing the Courts when they know 95% of the debtors don't show up and the Judge won't challenge any alleged Officer of the Court.

 

Additionally advantage might be gained if everybody fighting a credit card law suit made it a standard practice to ask for a copy of the contract authorizing the attorney to represent the Plaintiff/Client in the Defendants Request for Production of Documents on the Plaintiff.  (I seriously doubt you will ever get this privileged information but it makes a statement)

 

JDB's have been getting away with abuse of the Courts for years and it's time for debtors to make their dissatisfaction known both with the lawsuit factory's as well as the legal malpractice going on.

 

HP

Edited by Huey Pilot
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Most of the rent-a-lawyers are either recent law school grads or those who are having a hard time grasping the practice of law as this allows them to learn in a more benign environment.

 

Not necessarily. Some attorneys prefer to build a practice around being "appearance attorneys." Google "Appearance Attorney"

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There are a few courts that do not allow such appearances. In the US District Court for Utah it is sanctionable to not file an appearance before hand under local rule 83-1.1. Check the rules carefully, you never know what gems you can find. The Rent a Lawyers in two of my cases were thrown for a big curve when I pulled that one out.

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