Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Law Firm Asks Homeless Man for $1,000 Retainer

Lawson Lundell, a major law firm in downtown Vancouver, has asked a homeless man, Bill Simpson, for a $1,000 retainer. Simpson received the request in an Aug. 18th e-mail from Tom Woods, who identified himself as head of the Lawson Lundell Defamation and Media Law Practice.

Simpson had been hoping for a little pro bono help from Lawson Lundell in what is believed to be a clear cut libel case against the Carnegie Center Association (and some say, the City of Vancouver). The writer apologized and admitted in writing that he had published "libellous commentary" about Simpson.

Simpson was specifically named in the libelous commentary which included various claims, including one that Simpson had resorted to fraud to get himself elected to the Carnegie Board of Directors in June. In his subsequent retraction, the author of the libel stated that publishing such claims was "unconscionable". But the damage was done.

And it is not the first time that libel has been disseminated by the Carnegie Center Association, although it is the first time that Simpson was specifically named.

Woods told Simpson in the e-mail that after he paid the "up front" $1,000, he would be charged $400/hr. for his services as a senior lawyer. Woods would attempt, though, to recruit a junior lawyer to work under his supervision, whose time would go for $250 - $325/hr. Woods acknowledged that Simpson might find these "high numbers", so he offered to provide him with a number to call to get the names of lawyers outside the downtown core who have lower fees.

Unfortunately anything other than FREE is outside Simpson's price range. He has no job and no home. And he doesn't get welfare.

Simpson was amazed by the letter from Woods and appeared disheartened. He had believed that Lawson Lundell was aware that he was homeless. Material he had dropped off at the law firm pertaining to his case had included links to his website, Downtown Eastside Enquirer .ca, and to a blog, both of which identify him as homeless.

Simpson says it is possible that Woods had not reviewed the websites and was not aware that he was homeless.

8 comments:

dag said...

Let's see: A law firm that wants $1,400.00 for an hour's legal advice doesn't bother looking at the proposal closely enough to realize the petitioner is broke? Well, sign me up for law school. I'm certainly qualified to be a top lawyer in this here town. H'yuk, h'yuk, h'yuk. I am a sonny bono lawyer, h-yuk.

reliable sources said...

What is a sonny bono lawyer? One who skiis downhill, head on into a tree?

dag said...

For free! With his eyes wide open.

dag said...

An American lawyer's blog has picked up on the sordid story of Homeless Simpson, and a couple of lawyer commentators there decided to weigh in with opinions, as such, for the sake of filling the idle hours as they await their food-stamp allotments for the month, (I guess). Two lawyers with no discernible interest in the Simpson case, nothing like an interest in law being discernible at any rate, make a good illustration people in the lower eastside of Vancouver can learn something valuable from, if they will:

Lawyers in America, lawyers who have nothing to do with Simpson or the lawyers peripheral to this case, jumped into the discussion about Simpson's case, and knowing not even the slightest of the available facts, made uninformed and ridiculous statements in support of-- you won't believe this-- fellow lawyers!

Lawyers, who don't know dick, who certainly don't know Simpson, and who obviously don't know dick-simpson about the case in question, nevertheless decided to opine in public about this case. Why?

Lawyers might be expected to care enough about law in itself to read about, if not to think about, law. Law, for people who make a living thinking about details to do with a very arcane and remote system of thinking and argument, should be something they have an interest in for its own sake as well as for the cash they get from practicing it. It would seem worth the while for lawyers to care about law because it would make them money as practicing lawyers, if nothing else. But there's a lot more to it than that, more than the philosophy of law, more than the personal interest in law, more than the pubic ethos of a lawful society. there is:

Solidarity.

Very few lawyers, and very few of anyone, will often defend the law in itself, or others anything else. Lawyers, like other people, defend not the profession, but they'll go out of their ways to defend lawyers. slag law all you will, and hardly a lawyer anywhere will care; but slag an unknown lawyer and the wagons circle. Solidarity.

Why, you might ask, do the povertarians defend each other from anything at all, right or wrong? They will do nothing at all for anyone but themselves, which is the mere nature of things, if they are personally threatened. They will do buggar-all for you if you attack in any way one of their own (if they are covered first). Lawyers will do anything, as will any group, to defend their members first against outsiders. Are you the in-group in the povertarians' view or are you the stuff of their living?

The povertarians are your friends? Forget that. Te povertarians will shovel you into the furnace without a thought if you piss off a fellow povertarian they don't even know.

Why does someone from City Hall dump on Homeless Simpson in favor of someone downtown? Who belongs to the in-group and who doesn't? Do you belong to the in-group of those making decisions or do you belong to the group who get decided on? are you part of the in-group? Will people in America take your side even if they don't know you at all? They'll line up to take the part of City Hall workers. Position. That's what decides it, not the creases on your smiling face. The povertarians don't do it all for you, they do it first for themselves,and then they do it for the in-group, of which you are not, sorry to disillusion you, any part at all. You do not count. They save each other, and rightly so. You are not part of the in-crowd, and don't lie to yourselves any more. You do not count. These people are not your friends. You are the living they make. Povertarians make a living baby-sitting poor people. That does not make you part of their group or you'd find Americans who don't know you defending you. They don't. They defend the positions of those they don't know because they know the group. Povertarians. Poor People. Who is the povertarian in America going to defend? You? Get it straight. You are not the in-group. You are the living they make and nothing more, even if they patronise you. You do the same. You like those like you and you don't like those not like you. Why would others be so different from you? They aren't. If you're not part of the group you are not them and they will sink you at a moment's notice, whether they know you or not, whether they know the povertarians around you or not. One group and the other group. Which group do you really belong to? Figure it out and you'll know who you can trust when you need a friend. Your group. Not the other group. Your own.

Anonymous said...

where can we reach the "American lawyers" blog?

reliable sources said...

The American lawyers' blog is called "Inside Opinions: Legal Blogs" and the page on which the comments appear is called "Legal Blog Watch". Here's the address:

http://legalblogwatch.typepad.com/

(Sorry, I had difficulty getting a link up.)

You have to scroll down a few pages on Legal Blog Watch to come to the comments.

Anonymous said...

It's about time the masses represented themselves in the courtrooms of this country. This, and only this, will rearrange the sorid legal profession.

Canada's chief justice Beverley McLauglin seems to agree.

dag said...

It's a romantic idea to think the laity, as it were, can compete against the well-trained minds of the legalists of the forum. It's as hopeless as a man slugging it out with George Foreman. In the highly organized and ritualized drama of a courtroom the defendant and the prosecutor are not equal opponents, which is why the defendant must have a champion to defend him, one skilled and daring, one motivated by monetary gain as well as by honor and ego. Even in an amateur arena of a people's court one must have the best defender to match the other. And there's little hope of a fair fight in a courtroom, no matter how small the stakes. Some people are good at the kind of argumentation needed to win a debate, and others have no chance, regardless of their good personal qualities. That's why it's essential that Simpson find a lawyer who is not merely one who can do the job but who can do a job against the might and force of the entire Corporation of the City of Vancouver, his opponent. Simpson had the right idea in going to the "top law firm" in the city, because who else has the skill needed to battle THE CITY?

This is not important because it's about Simpson, per se, because if it were, who'd care? The import of this case is that it's NOT about Simpson. It's about one person of the city being crushed by the city itself.

How is Simpson going to deal with a security guard at the door of the Carnegie Centre? We see that he cannot do even that on his own. His hope of dealing with anyone higher in authority than a security guard is nil. Ethanol? She makes $104.000.00 per year (that we know of) and could easily hire Rocko and Vinnie to deal with Simpson, were he to seriously piss her off, for a hundred bucks, Simpson being no more ever again a problem for anyone. Simpson can't managed to generate enough money in a day to feed himself. It's not a fair fight. Nor would it be, in an intellectual arena, a fair fight to set Simpson against the doorman of a pub. Any grown man who can't manage to feed himself is at a strict disadvantage in the course of a day even when all he's up against is a clerk at a grocery store.

CUPE can demand "fairness" but let's use the word in a meaningful sense that intelligent people recognize: fairness must mean in the case of Simpson versus the City of Vancouver that his legal representative be some kind of equal match for the team and horde of lawyers at the disposal of the City. Anyone less than the best lawyer in town isn't going to have any hope of success against the City any more than Simpson can get past a bouncer at a community centre. He needs the best to have any slim chance at all of anything like a fair hope of not being further crushed by the City. It's important that the precedent be set so no one else is trampled under the rough-shod if Gucci-clad feet of the bureaucrats at City Hall. Simpson, and therefore all citizens and residents of the City need a fair chance to have themselves protected from gratuitous harassment by the City. If Simpson were to lose his case before the courts because his genius doesn't extend into the realms of law, then the precedent is set that no one will win against the city. Good luck over-turning that bad habit.

It is the shame of the lawyers in the city that not a one of them to date has stood up and proclaimed that s/he will defend the rights of all citizens and residents of this city by using Simpson's case to defend us all in the future. And the champion of Simpson, of all people in this city, must be one who can win, who is smart and energetic and capable of winning. The lawyer who takes on a case like this must be the best to have any fair hope of getting safety and reason for all, regardless of their station in life.

If a lawyer has the skill to fight the city now with Simpson as the test of who has rights and who is dumped on the sidewalk to be trampled, then the lawyer who can battle on behalf of Simpson can take that victory to the future and show that by defending the most unlikely he can defend the deserving.

Look at the latest movie: the good guy battles a weakling and beats him. He then goes on to beat the next guy who is only somewhat tougher than the first. He moves his way up the chain till he finally faces the worst. So it is with the case of Simpson: If the lawyer can win on his behalf, the rest of us will be safe from Government abuse of our rights for a year or more till they attack the rights of citizens and residents again. Win the toughest case and there is a victory. win the least case and it proves nothing much. Winning on behalf of Simpson is to win big-time. It would keep the rest of us safe for at least a short while till the city pulls this crap on us again.

It's not a fair fight. The city has billions of dollars to hire the greatest lawyers on earth if it cares to pursue Simpson into the park at night. Simpson has no hope of finding a bottle of water on his own, let alone a meal, given that he can't out-run a rabbit. Fair is a lawyer who is willing and able to make a profound statement on behalf of all the people of this city by defeating the city on behalf of the residents and citizens of this city. That's the only fair outcome.

But unless the media pick up on this outrage against all citizens and residents of this city, and unless the city's population realize what is at stake here, then Ethanol and her gang will continue to trample people, one by one, into the dirt, all the while collecting $104.000.00 (that we know of) every time they pass Go.

Lawyers are lining up to avoid this case. The media, so-called, are as bad or worse, pretending to report the news by slagging the mayor when garbage hippies dump on the lot of us by trashing a condo in support of "the poor" such as CUPE members making who knows what, CUPE demanding even more than that while Simpson is bashed by those very same CUPE members. Where is the media in the Simpson case? Lauding arseholes who steal shopping carts and make the price of our groceries go up at the store. Homeless Simpson? Uh. Uh duh. Our media.

We as citizens and residents must take the issue of our rights to the streets in the form of leaflets, into the court of public opinion, given that our legalists and journalists are so determined to ignore the trampling of our rights.

Ethanol and her lot rake in cash like fallen leaves in autumn, and under it all they find men and women like Simpson sleeping in the ditches and in the abandoned fields of the city. OK, he's a nutter, but why step on him as well as dumping on him the garbage of the collective povertarian bad attitude toward the folks who just can't figure out how to feed themselves?

Simpson needs a lawyer, a good one, the best; but we need that lawyer too to ensure for at least a little while that the likes of the povertarians of the city are slow to dump on us as well whenever they feel like it.

People must know what the City is doing, what CUPE is doing, what Ethanol and her gang do to the poor. That might at some time save you from the miserable fate of Simpson. He can't do it himself, nor can you defend yourself from the power of the machine of the corporation.

Talk about it. Keep thinking. Keep pushing till you find a way to fight back against the machine of the povertarians. But don't think you're going to get far in a fight against a person who makes $104.000.00 per year if you don't have some power of your own to match. Forget fair. Forget romantic visions. Look at the death toll around you and see who you are up against. Don't expect fairness from people who "care" about the dying and the dead. Povertarians will eat you alive. Povertarians live off you, and if you are distasteful they will spit you out and step on you. Look at Simpson, look at the teeth of the povertarians, and ask what's fair.