Archive of posts in category “law”

  • The US SEC runs a successful whistleblower incentive programme. If you’re aware of someone who’s breaking financial regulations, you can tip off the SEC. If they’re eventually prosecuted and fined, you can earn a share of the fine – anything from 10 to 30 per cent. Several people have earned individual awards of over $100m for their tips.

    The result, though, is a fascinating case study in unintended consequences and perverse incentives. Alexander I. Platt at the University of Kansas School of Law discovered that the scheme (along with a similar one run by the CFTC) has effectively been captured by a small pool of professional lawyers. Awards are dominated by whistleblowers who are represented by lawyers, but in particular by lawyers from a small set of firms and by lawyers who used to work at the SEC.

    The result is that the capability of sifting through the avalanche of tips that arrive each day at the SEC has accidentally been outsourced to private law firms, who (naturally enough) prioritise their own interests. #

  • A difficult read from criminal barrister Joanna Hardy-Susskind, explaining just how nightmarish conditions at the criminal bar have become (hence the recent strikes):

    “The finances have never kept pace with the fight. With what is required of me. With what is required of the mass of legally-aided barristers who ultimately have to rely on successful partners, generous families or sheer luck to get by. But, money aside, it is the conditions that deliver the sucker punch. Without a HR department the job takes and takes. There is no yearly appraisal. No occupational health appointment. No intervention. No one to assess the toll. There is a high price to be paid for seeing photos of corpses, for hearing the stories of abused children and for sitting in a windowless cell looking evil in the eye. There are no limits as to how much or how often you can wreck your well-being, your family life, your boundaries. No limit to how many blows the system will strike to your softness. The holidays you will miss, the occasions you will skip, the people you will let down. The thing about words is that they sometimes fail you. When you emerge from a 70-hour week and notice the look in the eyes of the proud parents who propelled you here – but miss you now.”