Does this help to define the distinction between 'worker' and 'paper pusher'?

I am actually not particularly emotionally invested in this issue, regardless of the fact that I have brought it up at least a few times already :slight_smile:

But I read this article, here are some quotes:

So. It sounds as if some kind of paperwork is being foisted upon these beleaguered workers. But who would do such a thing? How about… paper pushers! It goes on:

I hope the lawyers around here don’t come after me. Relax guys, I tend to respect lawyers for their skill- they aren’t your typical book-keeper. And this is an extreme case. But- what happened to billable hours in this case?!?

Just to be clear: in New York, workers self-selected to risk their lives in the aftermath of the attacks. They went out to clean up the city and croaked. Meanwhile the lawyers went to school. Not bad, but $200-million-not-bad? From these guys!? Really???

So the lawyers stand to make a lot of money. What’s the problem?
Edit: Okay, I see the problem in having the rescue workers and others sign an agreement they don’t necessarily understand. What’s that have to do with how much the lawyers will make?

I am not sure I understand the connection between the OP and the thread title. Are you implying that lawyers (or bureaucrats, for that matter) do not really do any work? (IANAL, also IANAB.)

The lawyers (I imagine there are a lot of them) standing to make all this money are probably working for contingency fees, not for billable hours, and these plaintiffs’ lawyers certainly will not be the ones who devised the bureaucratic obstacles to getting the money that are described.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers getting a hefty share of any damages won is the American way. Without them the plaintiffs themselves would generally get a lot less, if anything. I am not saying the system itself is a good one, but there is nothing I can see about this case that makes it more unfair than any other case where someone sues for damages.

The judge may be right to say the settlement is too low, and has unfair conditions, but that is certainly not the fault of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, it is the fault of whoever is being sued (NYC?) and their lawyers (who are just doing their job, probably for their regular salary).

It seems inappropriate that the lawyers’ pay would be scaled as a percentage of such a huge settlement. The lawyers stand to make plenty at their hourly rate; instead they practically open the public coffers and help themselves.

It may be BAU, but does it not also strike you as neo-criminal? They want an awful lot of tax dollars without ever having caught so much as a whiff of the fumes at the WTC site.

Look at it in terms of units of work per unit of time. The injured workers willingly labored in one of the most hazardous environments around. The lawyers filled out some forms and for this expect $200 million worth of the workers’ settlement. On the lawyers’ side, work/time seems ridiculously thin for the pay.

Why does it seem inappropriate? I know a similar argument was made for law firms working for the various states that sued the tobacco companies in the 90s but I still don’t get it. It doesn’t strike me as inappropriate at all.

What the hell does neo-criminal mean? “New crime?” No crime has taken place that I can see. Lawyers are people with specialized skills and they tend to make a lot of money. The fact that this is just a lot more money than they normally make doesn’t make their actions unethical or criminal. You’ll have to do better if you’re going to make a case that it’s wrong for them to make so much money.

A lawyer typically takes a case on a contingency basis when he and his client agree that: (a) there’s a strong likelihood that effort on the lawyer’s part will win a judge and/or jury to the position they advocate, but (b) it’s not a slam-dunk situation; they could lose entirely. So the lawyer proposes to gamble alongside the client: instead of working for a fee the client is liable for win or lose, he takes a higher cut, to be paid only if he is successful in winning his client’s case.

Two questions arise in my mind: (1) Does anyone in his/her right mind seriously think that the people who volunteered to work 9/11 rescue or clean-up might actually lose any reasonable compensation claims for hazardous duty? and (2) Whether or not the formula for compensation that was described as Talmudically complex is a fair and just one, is is fair and just for people who are not experts in crafting such settlements and who unquestionably did in fact voluntarily undertake hazardous duty to be required to agree or reject such a settlement within such a short period of time?

My answer to both questions is “No.” However, lawyers who did agree to take such a gamble with their client and did put effort into making their case do deserve to be compensated. So I would consider it fair that (A) lawyers’ shares of any settlements be capped at one-seventh (14.3%) of the settlement; and (B) any person who is a member of a class putatively entitled to such a settlement have up to a year to decide whether or not to accept it, with those designing the rules under which it is calculated mandated to provide clear and substantive answers to any questions about the settlement which they may have – and if they reject the terms of the settlement as unfair, they may pursue individual suits, with the cap on lawyer’s share lifted for that particular suit.

My logic on those provisions is that the lawyers are entitled to compensation, but not at the normal level of risk associated with contingency suits, so therefore it is only fair to cap their share at a lower-than-normal percentage; those whom the settlement is designed to aid should be able to make an informed decision without undue time pressure; and those with unusual or unique claims or otherwise dissatisfied with the formulaic settlement to which they would be entitled should be able to pursue their claims, and their lawyers are in fact taking the level of risk that justifies normal contingency fee percentages.

I’d be very interested in seeing what actual lawyers see as improper about the above proposition.