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So many lawyers, so little time...

"The prospect of hanging focuses the mind wonderfully"--Samuel Johnson

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Location: Louisville, KY, United States

Gastroenterologist, cyclist, cellist, Christian, husband, father, grandfather.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fake but accurate?

Some writers, by virtue of extensive training and/or native ability, have beautifully expressive styles that are a pleasure to read. Others of us erstwhile "new journalists" just fake it. The last formal training I had in creative writing was in 12th grade, when I had to write a "How did you spend your summer?" essay (mine was "Nothing but work on the dirt farm and I resent being reminded of it"). To get by I do what countless people have done before me: rip off as many styles from good writers as I can and throw them together in a melange that is so garbled that most folk don't recognize anyone in particular, and give me credit for at least some originality if nothing else.

There are some wonderful role models for us writers out there. I personally enjoy the style of the "legacy media", represented by such fine institutions as the New York Times, CBS, and Newsweek: report only those facts that further your agenda, distort the ones that don't, and just flat out make things up if it enhances the story line. This "fake but accurate" style is perfect for writers like me who are too lazy to check up on facts and links and who are too partisan to care much one way or the other.

As I reflected on my post entitled Free legal advise, I thought that readers might suspect that I got a little carried away. I mean, two lawyers who extort physicians out of their fees by threatening malpractice suits? No one's going to believe that. Even I began to doubt it until I ran into the doctor in question yesterday, quite by accident.

"Whatever came about that case?", I asked Keith.

"Yep, the lawyers' strategy worked like a charm. All of the doctors wrote off their fees over the threat of a lawsuit, even the ones who were only marginally involved. What's even better is that the hospital wrote off their charges, too. Here you have a guy who was admitted on an emergency basis, owned a small business but didn't bother to carry health insurance, required triple bypass surgery and a heart valve repair, and because he had a commonly described and accepted complication that resulted in at worst one extra week in the hospital, got the ENTIRE bill written off. Not even the hospital wanted to mess with it."

It turned out out that I got the facts right after all. I wish I hadn't, in a way; knowing it is that easy for lawyers to game the system these days isn't comforting.

By the way, complaints about lawyers in my state are kept secret until they are resolved. This allowed one sexual predator to molest several clients (all of whom complained to the Bar) with impunity until someone finally took out a criminal charge against the guy.


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