It's been a long time, a long time comin', but I know that now, a change is gonna come.We just finished listening to that BP investors’ conference call — because we are, ultimately, business journalists — and we’re really regretting not going to law school now like all the other poor journalists. That $20 billion in U.S. assets that BP is setting aside? It’s strictly for claims, not for fines, not for any kind of government penalty for the Terrible Oil Disaster. Let’s see let’s see what’s 50% of $20 billion? Oh, well it’s going to be a very good next seven or eight years for the Wonkette & Associates chain of storefront legal services retail locations! Come on in, Mister Dubious Shrimp Guy, and let’s tally up your losses if you hadn’t sold your boat in ’07.

Upfront money? Of course not. What do we look like, a bunch of New York shysters? Why, our editor — we mean, our chief counsel and senior partner — was born and raised right here in N’awlins. So he can do all that bullshit short-bus slow-Brooklyn-accent and talk about stayin’ by y’all’s mama and makin’ groceries and whatever. Po Boys for all! But not for long, because this $20 billion is not a limit, it’s a floor. [ABC News/Washington Post]

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  1. There are several of us lawyers among the Wonkette commentators, maybe we could form our own firm and move down there to get in on the action. If none of us are members of the Louisiana State Bar Association, then we can take a page from “Dr” Paul, form our own organization called the State Bar Association of Louisiana and certify ourselves.

  2. I was spending a lot of time thinking about the whole “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CORPORATIONS?!” line yesterday (stuck on a bus) and realized the supreme irony in alleged libertarians using this argument. If the free market works, corporations should be completely and totally fucked by malfeasance as the invisible hand of the market forcibly fists their anuses. Because if you’re a true-believing lolbertarian, that’s how it works: the market itself corrects evil-doers, because no one wants to touch their products with a ten foot pole.

    Of course, there’s the whole “but this is unfettered capitalism because investors are scared of fines and lawsuits”, but that’s because investors apparently have no soul under normal circumstances, the end, goodnight.

  3. Shakespeare was only half right. It’s not simply “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” it’s “…and make doubly sure that we stretch Lamar Alexander and Mitch McConnell’s bloviating distended assholes over the Deepwater Horizon relief pipe so as to ensure that they shut the fuck up forever.”

  4. It’s only fair that lawyers get to benefit from this too — after all, the oil clogs their gills and kills helpless, struggling fish, which is their chief prey.

  5. Since the total net worth of Louisiana is only woth $47 plus a few strands of plastic beads, I suspect that BP will hold on to most of that $20 billion.

  6. What has happened down here is the wind have changed
    Drillers roll in from the north and it started to leak
    Leaked real hard and leaked for a real long time
    Six feet of crude in the streets of Evangeline

  7. [re=600090]JMP[/re]: True story: Louisiana law is based on the Napoleonic Code. If you go to law school here, you have to choose between a Louisiana track and a rest-of-the-country track.

    So yeah, get to work on your sham organization, as well as some kickbacks for the legislators, police, school boards, police juries (county boards for the rest of you)–you’ll do just fine.

  8. Why, our editor — we mean, our chief counsel and senior partner — was born and raised right here in N’awlins.

    Is his name “Chief Korir” by any chance?

  9. [re=600090]JMP[/re]: I’m in. I’m tired of helping the least among us and oil-covered pelicans. I’ll take my pay in shiny, Mardi Gras beads to throw to bare-chested BP and Transocean execs in the French Quarter.

  10. The Dubious Shrimp fisherman is projecting back to what he would have made if he’d had a boat, and is also projecting about how horrific and emotionally devastated he would have been, had he not moved to Houston after Katrina.

  11. [re=600204]I Heart Accuracy[/re]: Marketed by a British Trader in the Walrus portfolio. At first it earns 5000%, but later it starts earning 2.5-3.5 million%, due to a rounding error.

  12. $10 Billion in fees isn’t that much. If you asked my deadbeat clients, they would tell that — in trade — a ’92 Tercel, twelve guns, and a broken chainsaw would pretty much cover the bill.

  13. I’m a little skeptical about this whole thing. Are business owners simply being handed last year’s income? Where do the claims end? What about adjusting for the expenses business owners won’t have now? What if they historically hire temporary workers, and have no fixed payroll…do they keep the entire payment from BP all themselves? What about the businesses all the way down the line that will suffer indirectly…do they have claims? (Do I get money if I show how much of my business last year resulted—directly or indirectly—from Gulf businesses that now are in trouble?) What about the individuals who won’t be able to get their usual pick-up work? Do they go find other work, or make a claim?

    Part of me thinks the people affected by this disaster need to turn to whatever resources (and recourses) the rest of us would have had (and have had) to go to when things go badly, just because there’s no way you can “trickle down” losses by funneling the BP money into the economy at its usual point of entry. This “trust” solution is going to be rife with false and insincere claims, and make a lot of people rich and keep a lot of people poor. And you have another “too big to fail” company that’s being assured it won’t suffer into bankruptcy when that’s exactly what the market may ultimately decide. Either way, lawyers benefit…that’s just how it goes.

  14. [re=600173]bored with gravity[/re]: Heh. How many of them do you think we’ll see at the corner of Bourbon and St. Ann during Decadence?

  15. [re=600090]JMP[/re]: West Florida. There used to be a Republic of West Florida along the Gulf Coast, between, with it’s capital in Baton Rouge. I’m sure it had a bar association, aren’t you?

  16. Who are the ones that he left in charge?
    Curs, thieves, and lawyers!
    God’s away, God’s away, God’s away on business, business.

  17. [re=600099]queeraselvis v 2.0[/re]: I fear it would just go right through them. We might not even notice a change.[re=600124]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: I will sell Louisiana to anyone who wants it. I have exactly as much right as Napoleon, and I will ask the same price: $5 million. But, like N., I want Spanish silver dollars, pieces of eight, not US greenbacks. I don’t know the buying power of a piece of eight these days, but it’s probably pretty good.

  18. We’ve had a lot of fun on this post. But just so no young Wonketeers get any hasty ideas about earning a J.D. and winning “four trials” like John Edwards, it’s worth watching this PSA cartoon about how every law student now is in student loan boiler room hell forever.

  19. As a licensed Louisiana attorney, I can personally attest to the fact that yes, there will be litigation on these issues surround the Deepwater Horizon disaster for many many years to come, however, it does not automatically mean that every attorney here in LA will be “recession proof” because of it. I am an unemployed/underemployed attorney here in LA and after man many months of writing countless cover letters & resumes, the job market for LA attorneys is depressing at best. Many of the job offers I have received offer a salary of (and I shit you not) $10/hour. I know the general assumption/stereotype of attorneys are these awful money hungry assholes, but right now, BP claims or not, those of us in the legal field (to clarify, those of us who have entered the legal market in the past year) are struggling to make ends meet. I hope to get ANY decently paying ($50k+ and thats high for right now) attorney position, and if it so happens to involve claims against BP, fantastic. I’ll get off my soapbox for now but just wanted to shed some light on the issue as a local LA attorney.

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