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Friday, April 5, 2013

You Get What You Pay For - Ruskin's Common Law of Business Balance; Whitey Bulger and His FBI Cronies

The following quote has been attributed to John Ruskin (1819-1900) and is referred to as The Common Law of Business Balance:

"There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are that person's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money -- that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -- it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better."

I am thankfully at a stage in my career where I don't have to "take whatever walks in the door," and I can be picky about what clients and cases I take on, and I can charge a fee that is fair and reasonable. The one change I am in the process of making is to renew old contacts in Houston so I can get involved in the oil and gas action in South Texas.

That said, if I were in my 20's I don't know if I'd go into law. There are way, way too many lawyers, the profession is held in such contempt by so many, and sometimes it gets old dealing with other people's messes day after day. A lot of good people get enmeshed in the criminal system. Then there are a lot of people who are true criminals, or losers who have gone through life blaming someone else - any one else - their daddy, mommy, teacher, boss, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, the army, etc. - for their misery. So, it's natural they'll blame their lawyer too.

I am reading a fascinating book by Kevin Cullen and Shelly Murphy, Whitey Bulger, America's Most Wanted Gangster and the Manhunt That Brought Him to Justice. Bulger was a stone cold killer - he'd kill anyone - women, children, innocent bystanders. For years he was protected by the Boston office of the FBI. They leaked information about people who were informing on Bulger, and got people killed. They covered up the murder of a Tulsa businessman and many others. It's pretty common knowledge that J. Edgar Hoover loved to go to the racetrack with his boyfriend and their mafia pals.

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