Sunday, January 11, 2004

Prepaid Legal Plans - H.M.O. and Choosing a Lawyer

Susan B. Garland has a January 11, 2004 article at the New York Times entitled "The H.M.O. Approach to Choosing a Lawyer", which focuses on the growth of prepaid legal services, known as "legal HMOs" which is a term historically taken from the abbreviation HMO for "health maintenance organization". (For various definitions of HMO see define: HMO at

Interesting in the article was a story about a corporate executive planning to buy a house and having prepaid legal service coverage under his firm's legal benefit plan, provided by an insurance company.

To quote Garland:

"[The executive] was given a list of lawyers who specialized in real estate transactions; he interviewed several, reviewed their Web sites and chose one."

This again confirms that the design and quality of a lawyer's or law firm's website can be an important element in a client's choice of legal representation.

15 months in PRISON for "too much fat"

The weight watchers of the world should be dancing in the streets. The legal profession should be weeping.
The Curmudgeonly Clerk in "Food, Fraud & Litigation" tell us that the

"The Wall Street Journal reports that:

'Robert Ligon, a 68-year-old health-food executive, is scheduled to begin serving 15 months in a federal prison Tuesday. His crime: willfully mislabeling doughnuts as low-fat.'"

It is really rather pointless to put corporate executives into jail for misleading the public - after all, what corporation and what advertising does NOT do this? Certainly large monetary fines are in order, or even dissolution of companies, but prison?

Once again, I think we all in the law should review Herbert Packer's The Limits of the Criminal Sanction, and simply accept the fact that a criminal sanction for many things - especially putting people into jail for economic crimes such as this - has no rational effect on either perpetrator or victim, has as good as no deterrent effect and is just legal stupidity.

unbillable hours and Go with God

The "Go With God" posting at the unbillable hours blog has little to do with law - but, this being a Sunday - it has the potential to be one of the most popular blog postings ever. There is something in that very beautifully done piece of writing which touches so many bases about the "realities" of life that it is quite uncanny. Some of the comments to the posting are also worth reading. We did not realize that one can "turn scars into stars" (the phrase comes from Dr. Robert H Schuller) in this manner.

As a legal aside (sorry, could not resist this one): "Are the parents liable?" or was this "an act of God?"

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