Last night when I was doing one of my favorite things, I came upon an add that seemed pretty shocking to me. I'd encourage you to read the full ad (it's here) after reading what I've highlighted below. The add, which encourages offers an "interesting future" for a "talented attorney" begins:
We have over 130 active cases and growing, primarily in the practice of wage and hour law inclusive of class actions and we are looking for additional counsel to handle the expanding workload.
Seems rather bland, but let's continue reading:
We take the initiative and aggressively litigate each case. We do not tolerate delaying tactics as early resolution is our objective. As a result almost all cases are settled and are rarely tried.
It's true as a general matter that almost all cases are settled. But lawyers truly looking out for their client's best interest always prepare a case with a mind towards trial. Early resolution is good only to the extent that it's in the client's best interest. There's a reason that personal injury lawyers are called trial lawyers, even though few trial lawyers try more than a couple of cases a year.
Here, though, the ad seems to suggest that the goal of the lawsuits is to encourage early settlements. Indeed, the ad's author (a lawyer who I found after some sleuthing) notes that he "only want[s] to work with those individuals whose thinking resonates with the concepts expressed above."
Still, though the suggestion that cases should be settled early is not entirely offensive, I guess, though it does seem rather suspicious that lawyers are suing with an eye towards settlement, since defendants rarely offer generous settlements to clients represented by lawyers unwilling to take cases to trial. Anyhow, it felt a little shady. And then I saw something that made my jaw drop:
In assessing the nature of the work and return on time spent it is helpful to keep in mind that the burden of proof is always on the employer to establish that he has paid the correct wages. The law requires that the employer keep accurate and timely maintained records that show hours worked and amounts paid. Failure to maintain such records is almost always at the heart of the case ....
Maybe there's an innocent explanation for this, but I read the above as saying this: We don't look for clients who have been wronged. Rather, we sue employers knowing that it's unlikely they'll be able to produce records that will prove us wrong. This case is starting to sound like a scumbag settlement mill. The ad goes on:
Furthermore the employer will be liable for our legal fees if he is unable to defense the case.
These two elements [the inability to prove us wrong and threat of attorneys fees] provide our clients with extraordinary leverage to resolve the matter.
Wow! In other words, let's just sue someone, hope he can't produce any employment records to contradict us, threaten him with attorneys fees, and then settle the case post haste. Screw the employer and screw the client. But at least we'll get rich! How is anyone besides the lawyer served by this?
Is my reading overly suspicious, or does the ad smell fishy to you, too?