Partly because Washington is world headquarters for the legal profession — and partly because he delivers the best Christmas gifts to reporters — Inside the Beltway is pleasedonceagaintopresentWashington malpractice lawyer Jack H. Olender’s “Top Ten Legal Predictions for 2007.”
WeshouldpointoutthatMr.Olender’s annual predictions have a 90 percent success rate to date. So, without further ado:
1. Old Lawyers Never Die, They Just Lose Their Jobs: Large law firms are terminating lawyers at a defined age — 65, 68, 70, pick a number. Mandatory retirement is fairly new at law firms, as lawyers with “experience” were once considered a firm’s backbone.
2. $200,000 Signing Bonuses Aren’tJustforAthletes:Thecurrent signing bonus for former Supreme Courtclerksjoiningmajorlawfirms is $200,000.
3. More Long-distance Medical Malpractice:GivenAmericanssave asmuchas80percentonsurgeryin foreign countries, look for more long-distance medical-malpractice claims.
4.MoreMalpracticebyGynecologists Performing Cosmetic Surgery: Doctors in many specialties are being invited to take crash courses to learn (or so they think) procedures from another specialty.
5. Animal Law Grows: With a nation of animal lovers, it’s no surprise thatthenumberofanimal-lawpractitioners continues to climb.
6. Lawyers Behaving Themselves: State bars and courts have toughened discipline, making lawyers toe the line.
7. Outsource All The Lawyers? Notquite,butlawyersandlawfirms are outsourcing a lot of their clerical, accounting and, yes, legal work to lawyers and firms in far-away places, such as India.
8. “Deal or No Deal” Contingent Fees: The days when “silk-stocking lawyers” at “white shoe” law firms lookeddowntheircollectivenosesat personal injury and malpractice lawyers who handle cases on a contingent-fee basis are long gone.
9. Bloggers Beware: An $11 millionFloridajuryawardforawoman whoclaimedshewasdefamedonan Internet message board sends this messagetoallbloggers:Watchwhat you say on the Internet, or risk a damagelawsuitforlibelandslander.
10. Employers and Pornography: Civil liability for money damages will become a factor in getting employers to monitor computer use to prevent the transmission of porn, for which employers can be held responsible.
Bonus Prediction — “The Donald” Won’t Sue Rosie: Donald Trump’s threatened lawsuit against Rosie O’Donnell won’t happen. Mr. Trump is too smart a businessman to file a frivolous lawsuit.
John McCaslin, whose column is nationally syndicated, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay mused on his blog over what Mary and Joseph might have done with the presents brought to Bethlehem by the three Magi.