New York chief judge rallies “Civil Gideon” campaign

But Ted Frank explains why creating a new entitlement to taxpayer-paid civil lawyers is a bad idea [New York Daily News, PoL]:

As any economist would tell you, if you lower the price of something, you get more demand for it. If it becomes completely costless to bring suit, we will see many more meritless suits.

That’s no small problem in New York, where courts are already overloaded.

If a dispute over shelter entitles a cantankerous tenant to a free attorney on the government’s dime, it will be much easier for people to fight evictions when they violate a lease in ways that threaten other tenants or intentionally refuse to pay rent. Landlords, in turn, will have to hire their own attorneys and raise rents and costs for their honest tenants.

Not unrelated: U.S. is granting asylum requests far more often than formerly. Why might that be? [Ted’s answer]


  • I was amused by the Daily News commenter who was convinced that I stole a sentence from the op-ed from some other Ted Frank.

  • Worst. Idea. Ever.

    Law schools, however, may like this idea. Legal Aid would have to quadruple its staff, and the employment shortage will be solved.