With 33 years of experience as a lawyer it’s safe to say I’ve been on the inside for a little while. I’ve seen what goes on. It’s not always pretty. I’ve represented accident victims against greedy, cold insurance companies. I’ve represented criminal defendants accused of “blue collar” and “white collar” crimes in the face of overzealous prosecutors and biased judges. I’ve represented nurses, doctors, accountants, real estate brokers, and other licensed professionals in disciplinary proceedings. And from my “insider” point of view, I’m here to tell you that our justice system in all too many instances is not fair. So for me, it’s time to step outside and tell it like it is. (Yea, I know. It’s a dated expression. I’m bringing it back.)

Many lawyers, many businesses for that matter, send out newsletters just for the sake of drumming up business. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that practice. But I am interested in doing more. It’s time for my clients, my friends, and the public to get a frank accounting of how our civil and criminal justice system really works. For I believe that daylight can be a powerful cleanser.

Now let’s stop and think about this. All I’m talking about here is the principle that an insurance company must act in good faith. Treat the injured party fairly; provide fair compensation for injuries, lost wages, and medical expenses. I don’t know about you but I just don’t think that being treated fairly is a radical idea that must be contained. Is it too much to ask for to be treated fairly in the first place?

So why am I writing about our justice system in such a cynical fashion? First, I won’t always be cynical. Second, because if you find yourself as an accident victim or a victim of any kind, if heaven forbid, you’ve lost a loved one because of someone’s negligent actions, if you are accused of wrongdoing or accuse others of doing you wrong, if you are seeking justice, the first think you must do is pull your head out of the sand and take a realistic view of how our justice system actually works. In that regard, for a lawyer to effectively represent his or her client, knowing how the law is supposed to work is simply not enough. In fact, knowing just one area of the law is not enough. To best help a client, I as a lawyer must take into account our justice system’s many shortcomings, educate my client accordingly, and together develop strategies to overcome the many imperfections our justice system possesses. That’s how I as a lawyer have been effective in fighting for my clients. By this newsletter I therefore hope to provide my clients, my friends, and the public with a no holds barred accounting of our justice system.

If you are interested in getting an honest view of our civil and criminal justice system, if you are interested in learning how to level the playing field, this newsletter is for you. But strap yourself in for the ride. It will be rough at times. You have a question? Send me an email at [email protected] I might even use your question in my newsletter. Or call me at 510 792 4008. But don’t expect a sugarcoated answer.

In the next issue: The Insurance Code says that when an insurance company fails to act “in good faith to effectuate prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims in which liability has become reasonably clear” it is an unfair claims practice. Then why did the California Supreme Court take away from accident victims the right to enforce this provision against an offending insurance company?