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Author Topic: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?  (Read 3158 times)

Eve

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2005, 09:38:40 PM »

Hi Silva,

About the divide between the academy and the real world: I've gotten some of this reaction, though I
think they are giving you an especially harsh time, and for no good reason!  The academy should be glad
that "one of them" out there will be someone who deeply understands their field and loved it
enough to study it, if not to devote a whole life to it professionally.  The academy needs advocates!
They are very wrong to treat a potential advocate in this way and I'm sorry for it.

Hang in there!

Coyote

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2005, 06:56:56 AM »

Good questions silva.

1. First of all, it is in NO WAY immoral to become a lawyer. Law is one of the most moral, if not the most moral, callings. If any of those music people were wronged by someone, you would see how quickly they run and ask for the assistance of a lawyer. Please make sure to put your friends in their place next time they dare to criticize the morality of law.

2. On the morality of withdrawing from the music program. Hmmm. The might have a point. Or they might not. Do you plan on ultimately finishing your PhD in music? And if so, will staying in the program for another semester give you progress towards that goal? If these things are true, then you have every right to stay in. Again, make sure to put them in their place if they run their mouth off.

I'm not making the point that a career in the law is immoral, but with all due respect, we're not exactly joining the peace corps.  Explain to me the moral justice of $2.7 million in punitive damages for a McDonald's coffee burn (eventually reduced).  "f not the most moral" is a bit of a stretch.  Let's go with aid workers in the Sudan.  Hospice workers.  People who run soup kitchens.  The Red Cross.  C.A.R.E. International.  Lawyers can, of course, work for charitable organizations...but most do not.  Johnnie Cochran is an excellent lawyer, but I wouldn't call him Mother Theresa. 

twarga

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2005, 08:08:57 AM »
Just like anything else in life, good or bad, your law career will be what you make it.  You either bring honor to the law profession or you don't. 

Mrs Malaprop

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2005, 09:18:27 AM »
I'm not making the point that a career in the law is immoral, but with all due respect, we're not exactly joining the peace corps.  Explain to me the moral justice of $2.7 million in punitive damages for a McDonald's coffee burn (eventually reduced).  "f not the most moral" is a bit of a stretch.  Let's go with aid workers in the Sudan.  Hospice workers.  People who run soup kitchens.  The Red Cross.  C.A.R.E. International.  Lawyers can, of course, work for charitable organizations...but most do not.  Johnnie Cochran is an excellent lawyer, but I wouldn't call him Mother Theresa. 

You do understand the point of punitive damages, right?

Coyote

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2005, 01:45:43 PM »
I'm not making the point that a career in the law is immoral, but with all due respect, we're not exactly joining the peace corps.  Explain to me the moral justice of $2.7 million in punitive damages for a McDonald's coffee burn (eventually reduced).  "f not the most moral" is a bit of a stretch.  Let's go with aid workers in the Sudan.  Hospice workers.  People who run soup kitchens.  The Red Cross.  C.A.R.E. International.  Lawyers can, of course, work for charitable organizations...but most do not.  Johnnie Cochran is an excellent lawyer, but I wouldn't call him Mother Theresa. 

You do understand the point of punitive damages, right?


To punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.

The seeking of which hardly qualifies a profession as the being the most moral calling.  The law itself is not always moral.  


Mrs Malaprop

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2005, 03:20:16 PM »

To punish a defendant and to deter a defendant and others from committing similar acts in the future.

The seeking of which hardly qualifies a profession as the being the most moral. 
Quote

But it doesn't exactly make it Teh Evel either. I'd say the profession itself is morally neutral - it's the individual lawyers that are moral/immoral.

I don't think that forcing a corporation's hand through a lawsuit is necessarily a bad thing - and can in fact do a lot of good.

To use the example you referenced, it wasn't the greedy lawyers that sought a huge judgement against the corporation - originally, the plaintiff was seeking $20K to cover her medical costs (she sustained extensive 3rd degree burns). This settlement was refused by McD's, as was the larger settlement suggested under arbitration. The $2.7 million in punitive damages was awarded by the jury, and not arbitrarily (the figure was roughly 2 days worth of coffee sales at Mc Donalds worldwide - the jury thought that apropos). The judge disagreed with the amount of the damages (although he too found McD's to be grossly negligent and said so), and lowered the figure to $480,000.

Considering that this was only one of many cases of serious burns caused by McD's coffee (over 700 prior cases) and that the solution (lowering the holding temp of coffee) would cost McD's little or nothing - and that nevertheless McD's stoutly refused to change their operating procedures - the judge and jury felt that McD's had shown a reckless disregard for the safety of their customers. (For the record, the jury noted that the plaintiff was partially responsible for sustaining the burns, and lowered her compensitory damages accordingly.)

So, finally, McD's loses the case and lowers the damn coffee temp. Not exactly a cure for cancer, but another reason for corporations not to wantonly disregard the safety of their customers.

And yeah, I'm sure the plaintiff's lawyers got paid well. Most doctors also get paid very well to do their jobs, and generally people don't argue about the ethics of doing so.

Sorry for the hijack - this is somewhat of a hot-button (pardon the pun) issue for me. Now back to your regularly scheduled thread.



Coyote

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2005, 07:49:21 PM »
Oh, for Christ's sake.

I did not say that law was "evil."  Not once.  I did not suggest it.  I said that it was a stretch call it the "most moral" calling.  An executioner is morally neutral. 

It's a package.  Same with doctors.  Quid pro quo. 

And if you honestly believe that the McDonald's coffee case was right on the money...you know what, forget it.  It's the layman's first example of what is wrong with our legal system - the ignorant masses.

I'm probably wrong on O.J. as well.  Someday he'll find those real killers.

Mrs Malaprop

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2005, 10:34:36 PM »
Oh, for Christ's sake.

I did not say that law was "evil."  Not once.  I did not suggest it.


Never said you did. Hyperbole, dude.

And if you honestly believe that the McDonald's coffee case was right on the money...you know what, forget it.  It's the layman's first example of what is wrong with our legal system - the ignorant masses.

I'm probably wrong on O.J. as well.  Someday he'll find those real killers.

It's exactly my point that most laymen have absolutely no idea about the particulars of that case. That it's a spurious example that "the ignorant masses" (to use your term) bring up when they start bellyaching about frivilous law suits - without considering that there might be more to those suits than they see in a 30-second bit on the evening news. I know a lot more about the case than most people, only because I was interested in knowing more about this famously "over the top" judgement and the salient information is avaiable out there for free on the Web. But even so, I wouldn't go so far as to presume from my cursory reading of that material that I know enough to say whether the judgement or the lawsuit was justified - although it did seem to me that McD's was the party that pushed things to the extreme, not the plaintiff. There was the definite sense that McD's really p.o.'d the judge and jury with its attitude, and that had a lot to do with the outcome.

I certainly don't think that the McD's coffee case is the egregious example of the need for tort reform that it has been made out to be. There may very well be other, better examples of cases that more effectively demonstrate that the system is broken. And there may very well be the legitimate need for tort reform, but I think most laymen are ill-informed on the subject in general and on this case in particular.

But OJ definitely did it. Too bad the prosecution bolloxed that one up nine ways to Sunday, and that OJ had the Dream Team to take advantage of their every blunder. (Note that OJ got nailed in civil court - another useful application of the tort. The inability of the authorities to get him to pay up notwithstanding.)

kaest4

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2005, 10:52:49 PM »
You'll undoubtedly make new friends in ls anyway, and I be they'll be supportive.   ;D


I Know I will :)

Yeah- Today was great, they reminded me of how much fun they are having going to minor league hockey games without me because  I have class and saving money for school- They live up north and I live in FL- so its always me that is flying up there- well cant do it- i am taking classes at the local community college to transfer back to me university(saving me money) and another long story as to why I am in fl and my university is in Pittsburgh, but I dont want a job, I want a career in law, I have a job now and it just pays the bills- I want to be comfortable and have a place where I dont have to deal with the general public anymore then I have too- I want to deal with industry people- it that makes sense.


They have no ambition at all, they live for hockey season and hockey players. And then thats it- during the off season all I hear is - how they wish it was hockey season so they have something to do.

Maybe I should just cut the cord for good? Getting tired of having to defend myself and my education and career plans to people who say they care?

Sorry about the rant- just needed to get it out



kernelgt

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Re: Unsupportive friends; Moral obligation?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2005, 06:27:03 AM »
People who have the audacity to sit on the sidelines without any real ambition or guts to try something risky themselves and question something that I'm doing can lick my balls.  Seriously, it really irks me when someone implies that I should feel guilty for doing something that I really want to try.