The unregulated, unlimited ability of attorneys to charge their clients by the hour, for as many hours a week as possible, is nothing more than an incentive to prolong cases. This is an abomination in this country. The members of every bar association have used this to trap litigants in the court system until they extort as much of their assets as possible. There is no motivation for any attorney to ever expedite a case quickly, and in fact the current system has the exact opposite objective. Judges never issue sanctions against attorneys, as these attorneys are the ones that put them in office to begin with, by funding their judicial campaigns.
The most egregious behavior is no doubt in the family courts. Unsuspecting families think they are coming to a safe haven to resolve their family issues, and hire a lawyer. The truth is the lawyers on either side only work for each other- prolonging the case to bill as much as possible. The hourly fees range from $200 to $1000 per hour. And in my experience- the rate at which you pay has nothing to do with the quality of the legal work. It has to do with how much influence the law firm has on the judge. Most of the time, the law firm has contributed to the judge’s electoral campaign and this is how the outcome of the case will end.
If you enter the courts without an attorney i.e. pro se.. you will receive no justice at all. In fact, I requested statistics on the outcome of pro se litigants vs represented litigants- and the Administration of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) claimed they had no such statistics. I also requested the length of family court litigation in comparison to other civil cases- and they claimed they did not have that information either.
Senator Stewart Greenleaf, who is an attorney, has received hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years, almost exclusively from law firms. He also has been the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee for about 25 years. He has been contributing greatly to the complete lack of court reform in this State.
I have seen cases that are intentionally dragged out by attorneys for five years, ten years and even 20 years. If the incentive of the hourly fees were removed this would stop. This can be done by not only capping hourly fees, but by limiting the amount of charges they can invoice per week. Not only must their hourly fees be capped, but a threshold for the length of time before they are assessed punative fines, needs to be set. For example, any case that goes beyond 18 months, needs to be reviewed by a panel of non–bar associated citizens. If there is any intentional expansion of the case, both the judge and the law firms should be fined in the thousands for such conduct.
Other solutions are to tax the falsely proclaimed “non-profit” bar associations to support the court system, as the fees just to file have become prohibitive.. The U.S. Constitution provides for equal treatment under the law, and we have anything but that.. what we have are profiteering attorneys who all belong to the same club, and for decades have been robbing Americans blind. They have precluded too many people from benefiting from any of the statutes of our U.S. and State Constitutions.
A massive change that needs to be made is to bring the entire Judicial Branch back under compliance with the Open Meeting Laws, to which every other agency and branch of our government is subject. Since 1978, the lawyers have been making their own rules, to the point of completely obstructing justice and out and out stealing people’s assets. This has to stop, and the only way that it will is to make it clear to the new governor and the newly elected senators and representatives that we will not tolerate this any more.
Everyone needs to demand that the General Assembly address these issues and provide restitution for all the people that have been harmed by these lawyers. All bar members must be prohibited from serving on the judiciary committee, and it is just insane at how long this has been allowed to continue, and it continues because people do not speak up.. they wait for everyone else to do it. Copy this and send it to the Senators and Representatives in your State.. no matter what State you are in.. because there is no justice anywhere in America today.