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Lesson #1: You get what you pay for.

I'm the first to admit there are too many lawyers out there who over-bill their clients. So I'm sure when lay people catch sight of a lawyer offering very affordable legal services, they jump at the opportunity to take advantage of the cheap fees. Well, I'm all for taking advantage of a bargain, but here's a word of advice: check the guy's credentials before you retain him. This would have saved some criminal defendants who hired George Robotis (an ex-con) a lot of time and money—because had they done their research, they would have realized that the man they had hired to represent them was not an attorney at all. On May It Please the Court, I read about Mr. Robotis and his brilliant pseudo legal practice. Apparently, when questioned by a suspicious judge (in court!), he nonchalantly replied, "Oh, I'm not an attorney." So there you have it: if you want a "deal" on your legal representation, you may just end up retaining an ex-con.

Lesson #2: What goes around comes around.

Sometimes you hear about those rare good souls in the world who are simply out to help people…you know, the Mother Teresa types. At first glance, I thought I was reading about a couple of them in a story on QuizLaw. A Florida couple, the Evanses, own migrant labor camps and have been recruiting employees from homeless shelters to work for them. Ronald Evans even set up a little shop where his employees could purchase goods—sounds nice, right? Well, this nice little story takes a nasty turn when you consider exactly what "goods" the Evanses sold at their shop: liquor, crack, and cocaine. At jacked-up prices, no less! But don't worry; these two do-gooders will get exactly what they deserve. Ronald Evans was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison, and his wife will be joining him there.

Lesson #3: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

The dreaded tax season is almost upon us. Most of us have accepted that we have no choice but to fork over our hard-earned money to the government. However, others among us still cling to the hope that there is some way to weasel out of paying taxes. On Sharks in the Water, a California attorney (perhaps a distant relative of Mr. Robotis in Chicago?) has offered some brilliant legal arguments for those of us who do not want to pay taxes. A few of his gems include "wages are not income" and "salaries paid in any form except gold are not paid in legal tender and, therefore, not taxable." I would caution people against actually attempting to use any of these arguments, but then, anyone who is actually stupid enough to try these lines on the IRS deserves what he or she gets.
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