Aw, John, but there's the rub. You would hire him because you believe he will get YOU what you are due....he would try to win for YOU. And where would you be if there were not people willing to do that? Just because he won some big trials doesn't mean he did not personally struggle to do that. Trial attorneys have to invest their own money in lawsuits....many times carrying the injured party financially. It is a big risk financially. Some 'white knights' take on those risks and are rewarded for it in big verdicts; there is no crime in that. If you invested three years of your life and every penny you had to help someone win their lawsuit, and you won for them and then you take your share (maybe 25 - 33-1/3 percent) of the verdict/judgment -- then that is not too much to ask. Eample: a boy is killed at a railroad crossing because the Union Pacific Railroad train was traveling 60 mph through a crossing in town and the lights and the crossing bucks were malfunctioning/or not working due to lack of maintenance; not only that the train did not blow its whistle and the crossing view (from the vehicle in which the boy was riding or driving) was obstructed due to lack of maintaining the vegetation/trees and shrubs near the crossing. Now obviously, the railroad is responsible because the engineer was supposed to blow his horn, was supposed to only be going 20 mph or less (or whatever the standard is), the warning signals were not working and the crossing view was obstructed -- nobody's fault but the railroad's. Now, say you, as an attorney, invested $300,000 in getting that case ready for trial (the $300,000 includes your travel expenses, depositions, expert testimony, and things directly associated with the prosecution of the lawsuit -- not your own salary) and then you win and the railroad is required to pay a verdict of $1,000,000. Sounds like a lot of money, right? (Oh and that's if you win. If you lose, you're out three years of your life, $300,000 of your own money in expenses you invested in the case, not to mention the other expenses you pay to run your office. And you don't always win and especially since tort reform and the mass media propoganda to do away with lawsuits and because of phrases like ambulance chaser, etc. (which in some cases is true, but not nearly as many as one might think as there are laws against that)).
Well, you the attorney, spent three years of your life on that case, invested your own money and now you get your payoff. After you deduct the $300,000 of expenses that first have to be reimbursed to you and to the Courts and pay off all the associated bills, that leaves the victim's family with $700,000. Of that, let's say you get 33-1/3% -- rounded, that's about $233,000. Roughly about $100,000 per year you've earned. Wow, nice income. Oh, but wait, I forgot the cost of your office space, office equipment, and your secretary -- well that's about another $75,000 a year at least. Hmmmmm......$25,000 -- well, I guess that's still above the poverty line.
All I am trying to say, is that before you go knocking someone like John Edwards, you need to realize how very hard he has worked to get wealthy. And why does someone really take on a challenge like that? Is it to get rich -- well, yes and no. From my 30+ years experience working with both sides (actually longer with the defense side) of civil litigation, I've found that the ones on the Plaintiff's side get addicted to the feeling of helping out the victims more than the money they may or may not earn. (And by the way, I do have considerable experience interviewing attorneys on a regular basis on both sides of the bar -- on the average of over a 100 a month for the past 7 years; prior to that I worked as a paralegal for defense lawfirms for about 20 years and then a Plaintiff's lawyer for about 5 years.)
And why on earth would a man like John Edwards want to be President? He certainly doesn't need the money. I actually believe that he has a sincere desire to help people, to serve people and perhaps it's because he's addicted to that great feeling it gives to be able to make a positive difference in people's lives.
[This message has been edited by iliana (09-10-2007 02:35 AM).]