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Fletcher Handley, an Oklahoma lawyer that practices mainly plaintiff’s personal injury and family law, recently penned a nice editorial for the El Reno Tribune. In his “Oklahoma shows no signs of needing corporate protection” article, Mr. Handley emphasizes: Accountability (or the lack thereof with wanting to push through tort reform) Right to Contract Keeping government out of people’s lives Corporate Immunity Subsidizing business at the expense of wrongfully injured people Closing the courthouse door to most common people civilly wronged Some great highlights: This is particularly galling to me, as a lifelong Republican, because the philosophy that promotes this kind of legislation is anything but conservative. It’s the “Government Should Control Everything,” philosophy. Ronald Reagan never embraced that, and neither do I. In 2006, when the Tulsa World surveyed likely voters about the important issues facing Oklahoma, lawsuit reform was not among the top 20 issues raised. That’s because it simply is not an issue, except to politicians who owe their election, their political existence and maybe their souls to Big Business and Big Insurance. It’s fun to bash lawyers, but your politicians aren’t the reason you wear seat belts today, drive cars with gas tanks that don’t explode, and work in an environment not contaminated by asbestos. Plaintiffs’ attorneys did that. They’ve gone after big pharmaceutical companies who knowingly market dangerous drugs. That peanut company in Georgia doesn’t fear the politicians, they already own them. They fear the plaintiffs’ lawyers and what a jury of fair-minded citizens will do to them in court. The full article is accessible...
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I just got off the phone with a current client.  It looks like he may be moved into the “former-client” category.  The client is obviously frustrated because he’s injured and his having trouble finding work.  He wants me to front him some money to pay his living expenses.  The ethics rules for Oklahoma lawyers are absolutely clear on this issue.  Attorneys can’t do this. Rule 1.8 of the Oklahoma Rules of Professional Conduct (“RPC”) prohibits certain transactions which might create a conflict of interest between the lawyer and a client. The relevant portions of RPC 1.8 are as follows: (a) A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless: The transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner that can be reasonably understood by the client; The client is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel on the transaction; and The client gives informed consent, in a writing signed by the client, to the essential terms of the transaction and the lawyer’s role in the transaction, including whether the lawyer is representing the client in the transaction. * * * (e) A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that: a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment...
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