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Litigation - Insult to Injury: What Judges and Lawyers Know About the Legal System that You Don't Paperback – December 19, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Janet E. Sobel has been a lawyer in San Diego, California, since 1983. She graduated in the top 10% of her class at the top- rated U.C.L.A. School of Law. She began her career at a large law firm, then moved to a mid-sized firm, and then to a two-person litigation practice. Her practice focused on representing individuals and small business owners in a variety of business, personal, real estate, insurance, contract, and legal malpractice disputes. After litigating for 18 years, she became disheartened, left the traditional law practice and created one that focused on trying to find pre-litigation solutions for her clients, helping them when she could and pointing them to a good litigator when she couldn’t. Ms. Sobel did a lot of things before becoming a lawyer, including teaching elementary school, being a mother to her two children, serving as an elected member of the Clark County (Las Vegas) School Board, becoming licensed as a real estate agent in Nevada.

Always one to express her views, Ms. Sobel was a championship debater in college, and a member of the top Moot Court team at U.C.L.A. Law School. She handled jury trials and appeals when she was actively litigating. After she began her non- traditional “counseling at law” practice, she earned a credential as a mediator through the National Conflict Resolution Center in San Diego.

Like Ms. Sobel, Ms. Cartwright was a litigator in both large and small firms, but ultimately found the practice of law a poor match for her interest in helping individuals. Ms. Cartwright graduated in the top 10% of her class at Tulane Law School and joined a national law firm in its San Diego office. Looking for a change from the impersonality of large-firm practice, she founded a firm with her husband, representing consumers and small businesses, and later transitioned to career advising at University of San Diego School of Law, still maintaining her practice and working on a freelance basis for other attorneys. In 2009 she was named a “Top Attorney” by the San Diego Daily Transcript.

In 2010, Ms. Cartwright returned to New Orleans to participate in the revitalization of the city after the levy failures following Hurricane Katrina. When not restoring a 150+ year-old house in the Central City neighborhood, she works as an adjunct professor and career consultant at Tulane University.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 410 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (December 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1494377950
  • ISBN-13: 978-1494377953
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,010,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First my legal background: I have practiced law for over 30 years, working first as a government attorney in Washington, D. C., and San Diego, and then in private in San Diego for over 20 years. In addition, I have served as a mediator and arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and a mediator with the San Diego Superior Court since approximately 2001. Thus, I have had an opportunity to observe our legal system in action and to work with attorneys for many years. Second my thoughts about the book: I just got started reading it last week and cannot put it down. It is really good. In fact, it should be a text book in every law school in the United States. The book is written for the general public, which for the most part knows little about litigation or our legal system. Guess who else knows little about our legal system or the practice of law? New law school graduates. The problem is especially acute today because many new lawyers, bright and capable, are unable to obtain employment with a law firm or government agency where they can be mentored by experienced attorneys. They graduate with a "legal" education but know little or nothing about how law is practiced. They then open their own law offices and learn the hard way; clients and our system suffer and pay the price. So, I see this wonderful book serving an important public service by educating law students as well as the lay public. Every law school should teach this information. Janet and Margie should be on the faulty of every law school in the country.
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Janet Sobel, J.D. has written a book that will serve the needs of Joe Plumber and other professionals alike. It is understandable and makes sense. I must admit that though I am a professional therapist, the law has seemed full of unknowns, and that intimidated me. The details seem overwhelming. But Janet has created a book that I can understand. The logical progression of topics helps you gain awareness of the dangers which you can avoid and the ones you can't be guaranteed to avoid.

It was very interesting to read in the first chapter that most lawyers don't really know the ethics of the field. So it is even more important that law clients know the ethics and see if their lawyers know it, too. Janet gives practical questions to ask lawyers before deciding to hire them for your project, or whether you even should hire a lawyer. She guides you in the agreement you have with your lawyer, and key points to keep in mind for all contracts.

I firmly believe that every lawyer should read this book, especially new lawyers, or people interested in going into law. It helps to have your eyes wide open. Experienced lawyers will also learn from her intelligent synthesis based on her experience.

Others who should read this book include all who have professional liability insurance, all who contemplate bringing a lawsuit against anyone (the results are not guaranteed no matter how good your case appears to be), and all who believe in justice. Janet points out that if less people tax the legal system, and solve problems out of court (through alternative dispute resolution methods), the better the chance the legal system has of working properly, as it was ideally intended.

Janet Sobel conveys solid ethics herself.
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This is an incredibly interesting and often surprising story of our legal system – not as I thought it worked but as it really works. I learned that justice might not be aligned with common sense or fairness. Not just informing us of the pitfalls of litigation, the author provides detailed suggestions on how to protect yourself and make better choices.

This well-researched and documented story of justice is a must-have for anyone contemplating litigation. It is a both cautionary tale and a gold mine of information.
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I am a new attorney, who has also been through several civil cases as a client, and pro-se. I have been in limited and unlimited civil cases. As Attorney Sobel says in her disclaimer at the beginning of the book, this book is especially meant for people involved in civil (not criminal) cases. To many people's surprise, the insurance industry, and some aspects of the legal industry, have made it financially unsustainable for most "David versus Goliath" attorneys to take cases solely for their merits. Many ordinary individuals Especially if you are trying to find an attorney, or trying to proceed pro-se, I highly recommend Janet Sobel's book. Her chapter 9, "Litigation Will Cost Me HOW Much?" will help many potential litigants understand why many attorneys nowadays require clients to pay at least a $5,000-$50,000 retainer agreement and rarely take cases on contingency, or for the sake of stopping injustice. As an attorney, there are many people I'd like to help, but most of them cannot afford to pay enough to cover my office costs (there's more to it than just the rent), much less enough so I can feed myself and my family.

How can their be so much injustice, and so many people looking for attorneys, but so many attorneys looking for work?
As a leader of the "Counselor At Law" movement, Janet has created a new (or revised an old) area of practice, which provides an important opportunity for both attorneys and potential clients. If you read this book, you may be able to use it to either better represent yourself, or find a limited scope attorney who will not replace you as attorney of record on your case, but will work as a "Counselor At Law" to help you better understand your legal options, and proceed accordingly.
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