[FoRK] Challenge for Zee and Stephen

Zee Roe zero at rawbw.com
Tue Jul 1 11:23:07 PDT 2008

On Mon, 30 Jun 2008, Jeff Bone wrote:

> On Jun 30, 2008, at 6:34 PM, Owen Byrne wrote:
> > I'd like to step forward as one of the little guys. Reasonably sure
> > I have a case, the cost to seek redress was well beyond my means,
> > especially with the threat of paying legal costs for both sides. The
> > phrase "crush like a bug" pretty well seemed how it was going to
> > play out. And my impression was that it was pretty well SOP for the
> > other side to screw the little guy, because they know they have more
> > legal resources, and they routinely use it to screw people who don't.
> I would argue that if you were persuaded by this argument, then either
> you or your attorney was insufficiently convinced of the merits of
> your case...  manpower alone on the other side of the table doesn't
> create or destroy merit, it merely creates overhead --- which
> ultimately they'll pay for if you win.  I.e., "crush like a bug" is no
> threat of outcome, it's only FUD and overhead in the process.  OTOH,
> the merits of your side of the case --- THAT's a real threat.  It
> seems likely that the attorney for your side did the cost-benefit
> analysis and decided that it wasn't worth it to him to pursue, and
> subtly persuaded you that this was the case.

Two questions for you:

a) If you were a potential attorney for a $5m case you estimated you had
an 80% chance of winning, would you take it?  I wouldn't, if I had any
assets to speak of.  Sure, there's an 80% chance I'll get $2m (assuming
40% lawyer fee) out of it, but there's a 20% chance that my life would be
ruined entirely.

Bringing us to b) Are lawyers willing to make big risks more or less
likely to lose a case against a well-funded opponent?  Movies and edge
cases aside, I claim the former.

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