Nearly a decade ago, Chevron Corporation issued a public statement warning the Ecuadorian communities who were plaintiffs in a massive environmental case against the company in Ecuador that they would face "a lifetime of appellate and collateral litigation" if they continued to vigorously pursue their claims.
As China's toxic air pollution once again surges off the charts, China's highest court is taking action. On Jan. 6 the Supreme People's Court issued an authoritative "Interpretation" that provides clarification and needed details to China's new public-interest environmental litigation system. These new rules appear to be designed to make it easier for Chinese NGOs to sue polluters.
The "temporary incompetence" of clients due to their emotional state and the attorneys' paternalistic attitude toward clients create a lack of understanding on the part of both the attorney and the client. This is the legal equivalent of a ship that hits rocks, runs aground, veers off course, and possibly sinks.
Many contracts, including many consumer contracts like cellular service contracts and credit card agreements, have a clause that requires disputes arising from that contract be resolved by binding arbitration rather than litigation. This helps companies keep their costs down and keep their disputes private.
Let's assume that we're all going to hit a wall in our careers sooner or later. If we're 50 or over, and it hasn't already happened, be on the lookout. This installment is a personal story about a longstanding friend of mine, a New York lawyer named Janet Scully who worked for 22 years as an attorney for Travelers Insurance.