Those car-accident personal-injury attorneys: As in the case of class action settlements, it turns out that defendants (in this case insurance companies) and plaintiffs' lawyers tacitly collude to overcompensate the relatively meritless claim and undercompensate the meritorious claims in the interest of maximizing attorneys' fees and minimizing defense costs with the least amount of work and risk. [Fisher @ Forbes]
However, unlike the case of class action settlements, disciplinary committees go after these unethical attorneys. The Nora Freeman Engstrom article that Fisher discusses details the cases of two separate Louisiana law firms whose lawyers were disbarred for their cookie-cutter operations—because they used a legal assistant to do the negotiating or paid kickbacks to runners, rather than because of their shoddy representation. In other words, at the end of the day, the bar association was more concerned about nickel-and-dime lawyers taking actions that increased competition, while ignoring the wealthier attorneys whose business model is not all that different.