Linky Friday: Money, Money, Money


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

Related Post Roulette

40 Responses

  1. fillyjonk fillyjonk says:

    Mo4: sounds like either a supervillain origin story or the start of something really kind of geopolitically bad. But maybe I’m a pessimist. What is Liberia’s currency worth these days on the world market?

    Mo15: you cannot convince me the anti-sugar, anti-carb cabal is not behind this.Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Mo2: The Bar Associations are going to have to look into using crowdfunding to pay legal expenses. While it is possible for a third party to pay legal fees, it raises ethical concerns about representation. The third party is supposed to be told that they have no say in the legal proceedings or the lawyer’s representation. Many third parties contributing to legal fees, people that the client might not even know personally, raises even more concerns.Report

    • This would be an excellent topic for a full post, for one of our Lawyer-y friends to tackle. I have the same questions and haven’t seen it really delved into, but we will certainly be seeing more and more of it.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Kind of depends on the set up, in my opinion. If they donate money to someone with the understanding that it go to legal fees, but without any guarantee that it will do so, I don’t think there is as much obligation to give them the “I don’t represent YOU” speech. I don’t think with GoFundMes, there is any accounting of the ultimate use of the funds-you are donating funds to the person.
      If funds are given directly to the attorney/firm or, for instance, a personal check made payable to the lawyers, or into some account that is specifically earmarked, that’s when you need to clarify representation. That would get tricky if it was hundreds of people so should probably be made clear at the donation point.
      Curious if you agree, other OT lawyer types?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Em Carpenter says:

        I think the laws are more concerned about insurance carriers and relatives who often go find the lawyers for the client themselves and could interfere. This is more “I know you are in a jam with X so I am contributing to your legal defense fund” and seems quite different. The GoFundMe seems on par with donations to the ACLU or Legal Aid.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Working in personal injury (plaintiffs), the notion that the third party (i.e. insurance carrier) has no say in the legal proceedings or the lawyer’s representation is frankly risible. Often the lawyer is literally an employee of the carrier. The adjuster has far more say in how the case proceeds than does the defendant. They are pretty good about direct conflicts of interest, e.g. if there also was a passenger, who has a potential claim against the driver; or if there are multiple defendants who happen to share the same insurance company. In those cases some of the parties will be farmed out to outside attorneys. But the attorneys know who signs their checks, and it isn’t the ostensible client.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Em Carpenter says:

        Using crowdfunding where it goes directly to the would be client rather than the lawyer/firm is the safest option. Saul brings up a good point that we are dealing with tens or hundreds of people providing money though. These people are unlikely to interfere in the same way a relative or insurance carrier is going to get involved. Crowdfunding could be a good way for people without money who need a lawyer to fund at least some of their legal expenses.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Wasn’t this one of those things that came up when it came out that Peter Thiel funded Hulk Hogan’s suit against Gawker?

      For 20 minutes or so, it was argued that this was something that shouldn’t be allowed in the first place (though that died down quickly when it was pointed out that such a rule would apply to more than stuff exactly like Thiel/Hogan/Gawker).

      I thought the general consensus was that this sort of thing was okay, it just had to be fully disclosed who was behind paying the lawyers.

      Doesn’t making crowdfunding lists fully public meet that somewhat informal and non-binding compromise?Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

        I don’t think who is paying the lawyers must be disclosed. The SCOTUS ruled that the government could not require the NAACP to disclose its membership because the First Amendment contains a right of anonymity.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Mo10: Supply and demand in action. I will, grudgingly (because I am still a libertarian, doncha know) admit that this is one area where a bit of regulation was probably a good thing. Knowing the provenance of bodies and all that.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Hedgefunds: Article is paywalled. I’ve heard mixed things about whether hedge funds beat the market or not. The whole thing about what people should or should not do with their money is rather fascinating. A few years ago Matt Y wrote an essay making fun of Harry Reid’s real estate investments. The basic point of the article is that Harry Reid would have made just as much or more money if he just parked his money in an index fund.

    Note: This is what I do with my savings. A lot of financial advice seems to be about just doing this. You can’t beat the market and index funds are the safest.

    But I always feel like there is a paradox here, if everyone just invested in index funds, wouldn’t that mean there is less to do/economic development. There are a lot of people (mainly men) out there who seem to purpose most of their lives around making money. This is the archtypical “Doctor during the day. Schmoozing on the gulf course and getting business opportunities during the weekends” kind of thing. A lot of these guys seem to like to invest in things that are somewhat more sexy and social than index funds like restaurants, real estate development, etc.Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Saul Degraw says:


      I’ve heard mixed things about whether hedge funds beat the market or not

      Like anything finance-related, some will and some won’t. I understand that it’s become harder due because of the amount of capital that’s flowed into the space. The sticking points for funds are: 1) the fee structures and 2) the tax treatment of the carried interest.

      A few years ago Matt Y wrote an essay making fun of Harry Reid’s real estate investments.

      And I bet reading Matt’s views on real estate are as enlightening on my view of what it’s like to play center in the NBA.Report

    • I got it sans paywalling — a quick check indicates that my ad blocker is keeping the paywall JavaScript from being loaded.

      Historically, doctors have always been notorious for unusual and often sketchy investment vehicles. For a long time, they were the bulk of the people with enough earned income to have investments outside tax-sheltered accounts and to be in the highest tax brackets. Exotic schemes where they could claim large paper losses were always popular. At one time there were companies whose sole purpose was drilling dry oil wells so that high tax bracket investors could exploit the special way oil and natural gas drilling was treated by the US tax code. In the news stories about such, it was always groups of doctors who were investing in them.

      These days much of the odd handling is confined to real estate. Remember Trump’s partial NY State tax forms where he took a $900M loss? It’s almost guaranteed that that was something peculiar to the real estate business and was a paper loss, not an actual loss of most of a billion dollars.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yglesias made fun of Trump’s real estate adventures, pointing out that putting his inheritance in a index fund would have been safer. I think many people like safe investments but there are others who love the romance of a more risky venture. They invest to make money but they also want to do so with style. Less safe investments will still happen.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I don’t know if the usage is still current, but a lawyer I used to work for referred to “dumb doctor cases.” Doctors (along with very successful athletes and entertainers) are able to make a lot of money without knowing much about money, as opposed to successful businesspeople, whose ability to make money very much depends on their knowing about money. So they have money they want to “do something” with and get caught up in dubious investments, tax shelters, and outright frauds — making much work for lawyers. You’d think that, being doctors, they might have some expert insight into, oh, I don’t know, maybe health-care, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, and invest accordingly, but no, they would dump their money into things they knew nothing about, with sad results.) Maybe now tech millionaires are taking over the dumb doctor ecological niche.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to CJColucci says:

        There have been many business people that have gained, lost, and regained fortunes with alarmingly fast speed. There have been financiers that have gotten into too good to be true investment schemes. When it comes to money, a lot of people’s more cautious instincts desert them if they believe they pay off is big enough.Report

        • Avatar CJColucci in reply to LeeEsq says:

          That’s certainly true. Being in business does not innoculate you from greed or stupidity. But someone who makes money without knowing money is particularly vulnerable.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to CJColucci says:

        You’d think that, being doctors, they might have some expert insight into, oh, I don’t know, maybe health-care, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals, and invest accordingly

        I can see that being a conflict-of-interest nightmare.

        I wouldn’t want to invest in any IT company stocks that are related to my IT expertise, because then I’d be barring myself from participating in my employer’s purchasing decisions – and the more strongly I believed a particular company’s products to be superior, the more I’d want to invest in them, and the more frustrating it would be to watch an RFP committee in which I was barred from participating, choose something I thought inferior.

        Fortunately I am spared this fate by not at all enjoying stock market speculation. Some of my colleagues enjoy playing small amounts of investments as a sort of sport. I can hardly think of a less fun way to spend my evenings.Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    In another lawyers and money matter, the California Bar Association is going to start require lawyers that charge flat fees to put the flat fees in a trust fund until the representation is concluded. This new ethical rule is horrible and will screw over many ordinary people and the lawyers that represent them. There are many areas of the law where charging on contingency basis or an hourly basis makes no sense, so you charge flat fees. Immigration is one of them because a lot of it is assembling the application and evidence, which really doesn’t take that long, and waiting for the interview or hearing. Yet, if I had to wait until the end of representation to use my fees it would be years away because of the backlog, twists, and turns that occur in immigration cases. An asylum case can end up as a marriage case, etc.

    The lawyers who come up with these rules are academics or are from big law or the not for profit world. They want to pretend that the legal business is not a business. They treat practitioners of real person law as garbage and create rules that makes it really difficult to run a business. They like to believe that they are so noble but many of the rules regarding the business of the law date back to the British nobility trying to pretend that they weren’t in trade.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Yes! YES! Give in to your frustrations with bureaucracy and careless rule making! Let the libertarian-ism flow through you!Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        This is private bureaucracy, which is essentially allowed under libertarianism. I guess you could argue that libertarianism would get rid of the license requirements for lawyers but that is not going to happen anytime soon. I just think that a lot bar association rules are made up by lawyers who do not or have an interest in not understanding the needs of the smaller practitioner.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Ah, that’s right, I forgot that Bar Associations are not actual government entities. But the attitudes and behavior are strikingly similar…

          Although, a common libertarian refrain is that any organization, once sufficiently large enough, or having acquired sufficient Monopsony/Monopoly power, will act like government. Truly, when you get down to it, libertarian-ism is always suspicious of any entity with a monopoly on power of any stripe.

          To bad there is no alternative Bar Association for you to join without leaving the state.Report

          • It also strikes me that the Bar Association operates enough like a guild with government-like powers that for some purposes it should be looked at as a government entity. (That’s pretty much what Oscar said. I’m just rephrasing it.)

            While I’m personally not convinced the association should have the power it does, I’ll admit that the fact it does have that power doesn’t by itself mean one should adopt a libertarian perspective toward it.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            The State Bar of California is a public corporation according to the California Constitution.

            “The State Bar of California is a public corporation. Every person admitted and licensed to practice law in this State is and shall be a member of the State Bar except while holding office as a judge of a court of record.”

            They are the admin arm of the California Supreme Court so they are very much a governmental organization.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Do you have a link?

      I did some googling and saw that other bars have similar rules but they aren’t quite as draconian as the one you claim California’s law will be. D.C. seems to have a rule that it must be placed in the client trust account “until earned” but there is a way for the client to give informed consent to a different arrangement.

      Meaning, you could put something in your client agreement that states otherwise.Report