Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Counsel Swap Toss

Flip a coin to see who gets which lawyer
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(+4, -2)
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Law as it is practiced today favors the wealthy, because the more money you have, the better legal representation you can afford. To remedy this, I suggest that, at the beginning of civil trials, the judge should toss a coin. If it comes up heads, the two sides must swap lawyers.

You might say that this is wrong, because a person is entitled to the legal representation they choose for themselves. But I say no: a person is entitled to fair representation, and nothing else. With the coin toss, we eliminate the incentive to seek an unfair advantage in representation.

I'm not sure how you would work out payment. Would you continue to pay the lawyer who's representing your opponent? But I suspect that this would become academic after a while, as eceonomic pressures smooth out all trial lawyers' fees to a constant. (After all, who's going to pay more for a better lawyer who might end up arguing against you?)

baf, Jan 15 2001


       Would this be equivalent to simply assigning everyone a random court-appointed lawyer?   

       Perhaps not; under this scheme, I would aim for a lawyer who was known to be very sympathetic to my viewpoint. (To get work, lawyers would try to become known as sympathetic to a particular viewpoint.) If my opponent ends up with my lawyer, great; now her lawyer will be working at cross-purposes.
egnor, Jan 15 2001

       Hmmm. Using this scheme, if prosecuted I would choose to represent myself. If the coin comes up heads, then who cares if I lose the case?
Lemon, Jan 15 2001

       Hmm. Perhaps in the case of self-representation, your counsel would be considered to be "self". So if you swap, you'd get the opponent's lawyer and the opponent would have to represent him/herself. But what if the opponent was a corporation? I guess they could use their in-house legal staff then. Well, anyone who goes up against a corporation without consel is asking for it anyway.
baf, Jan 15 2001

       This isn't terribly kind to the lawyers... given that they may not necessarily have to take the case. (in U.S. lawyers choose their own clients, IIRC in England, they're obligated to take anyone who can pay)   

       There're some interesting consequences of the need for proper legal representation. For example, lawyers are prohibited from signing non-competition agreements, because this might infringe on their clients' rights.
cpt kangarooski, Feb 21 2002

       Potential flaw: Big business is aware of this system. Hires useless lawyer. If they win the coin toss, they get your competent lawyer. If they lose, they can sack their lawyer and hire Raymond Burr.
calum, Feb 21 2002


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