Category Archives: lawyers

Lawyers’ employment scheme

Prison, English-style

Prison, English-style

The revolving door of the criminal justice system

Dalrymple says (from 0:45) that he disagrees with the idea that prison should be, as he puts it,

a kind of hospital for criminals. That means you are saying criminals are ill.

The purpose of prison should be

the reduction of crime in the population, and the protection of the rest of the population.

A little cannabis resin helps this British prisoner relax

A little cannabis resin helps this British prisoner relax

The humanitarian theory of punishment is

very cruel. It is compatible both with ridiculous leniency and with revolting cruelty. If your theory is that punishment should be effective, it places no limits on what you can do to people.

Dalrymple points to the error

in thinking that prisons are there to reform people. It’s very good if they do — I have no objection — but that is not their purpose.

Most criminals, Dalrymple explains,

  • stop being criminal at the age of 35 to 39. In a sense they reform themselves
  • have done between five and 20 times as much as they have ever been accused of doing
A pair of English convicts in high spirits during one of the occasional recreational riots

A pair of English convicts in high spirits during one of the occasional recreational riots

If you put these two things together, Dalrymple says,

it would be an argument for longer prison sentences rather than shorter ones. In the end this would reduce the number of prisoners rather than increase them, because often it’s a revolving door: they come out, they commit another crime. It’s a very good scheme of employment for lawyers.

Prisoners take control of a wing of a British prison

Prisoners take control of a wing of a British jail

HMP Birmingham

HMP Birmingham, site of a recent especially exuberant riot

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A convict lets off steam by smashing up the prison

The Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange

The Anthony Burgess novel A Clockwork Orange: if your theory is that punishment should be effective, it places no limits on what you can do to people

Best free show in New York

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 10.59.44Dalrymple has the

happy idea of going to the criminal courts on Centre Street. They are the Metropolitan Opera of the criminal-justice system.

By chance

I arrived at a dramatic moment in a dramatic trial of a dramatic crime. A man called Elliot Morales, charged with murder in the second degree, who was representing himself, was about to make his final address to the jury.

Morales put on

a fine performance.

So too did

the assistant district attorney, a young woman who will go far. She presented the case against Morales with clarity and implacable emphasis.

The ludicrous cult of long hours

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 07.50.56Dalrymple’s principle states that

efficiency declines as the number of hours worked grows.

Dalrymple himself is at his best, he explains,

for about two hours a day—shortly after waking—and it is downhill all the way thereafter.

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 07.55.05

The suddenly and unwontedly efficient and alert essayist

Only one thing restores his efficiency or alertness, if not his soul:

the prospect, previously unexpected, of earning a good sum of money. This acts on my brain in the same way as amphetamine.

(Johnson: No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.)

Young lawyers, Dalrymple points out,

are expected to examine documents and research precedents for hours on end, though nothing is easier than to overlook the single key fact in a case in which there are hundreds or thousands of pages of dreary documents.

OBBB (overworked banker behaving badly)

Machismo in the empire of imaginary money

For the macho workers in finance,

their absurdly long hours are a source of pride, a seeming justification for what they earn and an excuse for behaving badly once the pressure is relieved. Perhaps there would be fewer financial crises if financiers and their junior aspirants worked fewer hours.

Virtuosi of the law courts

Natalia Poklonskaya, Crimea's prosecutor-general

Natalia Poklonskaya, Crimea’s prosecutor-general

Dalrymple says of certain advocates:

Their ability, seemingly effortless, to master technical matters to which they may never have given a moment’s attention before, as well as thousands of pages of documents, is admirable and even astonishing.

Champerty and the rich rewards for a certain kind of lawyers

 The Flemish Milch-Cow. Crispijn de Passe the Younger, 1646

The Flemish Milch-Cow. Crispijn de Passe the Younger, 1646. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Dalrymple does not consider commercial concerns

incapable of wrongdoing: on the contrary. But neither should they be treated as milch-cows.

Litigation lawyers do not seek to shut down the companies they target, he points out. Their aim to to transfer some of the profits to themselves from shareholders.

Let corporations do what they want so long as we get our cut.

 

 

Blame the doctor

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 00.19.33This is the best course when things go wrong, says Dalrymple,

by which I mean most lucrative for lawyers.

He also volunteers the information that he has no wish to carry a concealed weapon.

Thatcher and the ambulance-chasers’ charter

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 07.51.52Margaret Thatcher deepened the dishonesty of many people, writes Dalrymple, by a 1986 reform that

corrupted the legal profession and the population alike: she permitted lawyers to advertise, which they had never been permitted to do….The law…stifles everything from thought and speech to law enforcement and economic enterprise.