Jerome Karam’s case was pretty much straightforward – I was obviously right and my business partner had breached the contract. I bet it wasn’t a lot of work for him to prove me right in court (and I wasn’t charged a lot either).
But I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the other party’s lawyer. It was obvious that he didn’t stand a chance, yet the guy took on this case and tried to cling onto some insignificant detail in the contract, something that I allegedly was my side of the deal and I didn’t do. The argument was silly, to say the least, and the judge smirked when she saw him beating around the bush with the same irrelevant arguments.
This makes me wonder: how do such lawyers make a living? Even when the case is a dead-end, they probably still charge for the hours they spent documenting the case and all that. How can you appear in court, knowing that you have something like 5% chances of winning the case, charge your client and still be able to sleep at night?
After the trial I met Jerome Karam for a cup of coffee, and asked him how other lawyers handle such cases. He laughed, and said “welcome to the industry”. There are more lawyers out there who will take your money and screw you over than fish in the sea. A Japanese businessman (I don’t remember his name now, maybe I’ll follow up with it when it comes back to me) once said about us Americans that “There are more attorneys just in Washington, D.C. than in all of Japan. They have just about as many lawyers as we have sumo wrestlers.”
Jerome then said that a good professional should find the balance between a good financial status and being able to sleep at night. He said he never takes cases where the client is at fault and likely to lose. Even though that money would lie nicely in his pocket, he said he’s always thinking about the other side – for every guilty client that he gets off the hook, there’s always somebody who is crying about justice not being served properly.
That chat in the café really made me reconsider the whole legal system. I was lead to believe that all attorneys are heartless bastards who will take your money whether or not you have the slightest chance to win. It looks like my faith in humanity was somewhat restored. Thank you, attorney Jerome Karam!