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It's not surprising the archetypical hypothetical example of chutzpah is a legal one: the child who kills his parents and begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan.

We might have to replace it with a real-life example: William Lerach, who has pled guilty to ripping off his shareholder clients through paying millions in illegal kickbacks, complaining in the Washington Post that "the legal system is a lot tougher on shareholder lawyers than it appears to be on Wall Street executives"—even though he doesn't identify a single illegal act those executives have committed in his pathetic op-ed. (Lerach is unapologetic about his crimes incidentally, characterizing it as "stepp[ing] over the line" in his "zeal to stand up against this kind of corporate greed." Never mind that his crime was one of his own greed, and had nothing to do with who he sued, which was at least as often the innocent as the guilty.)

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.