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On lawyers

  • November 18th, 2008

A Financial Times columnist points out that Obama’s Transition Economic Advisory Board is mostly lawyers.. Willem Buiters fires a familiar broadside at lawyers 

"… in the US, the legal profession … has become a veritable succubus preying on the body politic and on the economic resource base of the country – the ultimate rent-seeking, wealth destroying profession. According to Legal Reform Now! there are 1,143,358 lawyers in the US, one for every 200 adults. The main problem is not that there are over a million socially unproductive lawyers in the US. The problem is that these lawyers are an essential component of a dysfunctional legal framework that has created the most litigious society in the world. The damage this dysfunctional legal framework causes must be measured not primarily by the direct cost of litigation, astounding though it is, but through the actions not undertaken and the creative and productive deeds not done because of fear of litigation."

That last sentence is the key. I see it in people I work with, in my children, in timid public officials, in service providers every day. They become uncertain, anxious about doing things out of the ordinary, taking any kind of risk that is not in familiar channels. Getting drunk is a familiar risk. Building your own building, learning to drive a bulldozer by doing, is not.

A young guy I know has become an expert truck driver without ever getting a licence, because the normal process now involves formal training and courses and tests that would cost around $3000.

Buiters goes on:

"Except for a depressingly small minority among them, lawyers know nothing. They are incapable of logic. They don’t know the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions or between type I and type II errors. Indeed, any concept of probability is alien to them. They don’t understand the concepts of opportunity cost and trade off. They cannot distinguish between normative and positive statements. They are so focused on winning an argument through technicalities, that they no longer would recognise the truth if it bit them in the butt. If you are very lucky, a lawyer will give you nothing but the truth. You will never get the truth, let alone the whole truth. Things have degenerated to the point that lawyers and the legal profession not only routinely undermine justice, but even the law.

Some exaggeration but depressingly defensible. The lawyer establishment has such a hold now that it is not feasible to challenge a lawyer consensus with simple common sense. You’ll need your own lawyer.


  • mike mckee
  • November 19th, 2008
  • 10:55 am

Stephen you state:-
“The lawyer establishment has such a hold now that it is not feasible to challenge a lawyer consensus with simple common sense. You’ll need your own lawyer.”

So how do we change this?

  • Steve
  • November 23rd, 2008
  • 12:05 pm

My dictionary describes a succubus as a female demon who has sexual intercourse with sleeping men.

[Have I missed something – a reference to succubus?]


Problem and Answer ?
Public policy, legislation are all instruments that cost someone money. Resource Management Act and Treaty legislation in New Zealand has extracted huge amounts of cash from the public for the lawyers.

Legislation and lots of it makes lawyers money, remember that. Relying on judges and politicians to intervene is almost impossible because they are fraught with the conflict of protecting their jobs and friends or they are too stupid to know the wider game.

The public are witnessing the growing trends of politicians and the judiciary bowing to the demands of big business and other hidden agenda. Networking power appears to be shifting influence and authority into the hands of some legal and business corporations often in a corrupt way.

Too often local councils and central government are incompetent costing everyone extra tax money they need to help their own families. Police are being frustrated trying to keep us safe, court staff witness havoc, education levels are failing, health care standards are failing, Government power non negotiable with common sense unreachable. Government have too much influence on media, lobbyists influence on politicians while our politicians are accountable to no one from their communities.

It’s just one big mess and currently we have no methods in our existing systems of democracy to rip those faults from our leaders. Good people, with good hearts and intentions are failing to be heard. Political and judicial representation with self examination will not guarantee the public will be cared for. In fact, it is a recipe for disaster.

We witness political mismanagement being meet with judicial activism. The growth of alarming intrusions by the judiciary into the realm of policy is blurring the integrity of the independent legislators and at the same time destroying the foundations of stare decisis.The Matakana Island litigation is an example of corruption and negligence that those in power have tried their best to cover up.

The David Bain case, the Erebus Inquiry, Cave Creek, Winebox, Arthur Alan Thomas, sale of state assets via Fay Richwhite who in turn donate millions to the political parties, various lawyer fee legislation, false and misleading reports and decisions are good warnings to us the people, that we need to have more control on our leadership than just the ballot box. This is our country and the leadership work for us. The New Zealand public cannot afford to waste big money on a constantly failing system of political and judicial management.

We have begun a documentary film in Australia about idiots in power and New Zealand judges, lawyers and politicians are in it. The film and the campaign to follow will get people who are sick of the system and want a change to join any political party of their choice. And after swelling the party membership ranks they will vote from the branches up that immunity legislation be removed so that government management will be made accountable like any other fiduciary.

See the Lord Wingate of Arklow speech-


Read my submission for;
The New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development
Implementation of the Financial Advisers Act and Financial Service Providers Act
Paper titled- Fiduciary Protection Law

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