Lawyers letting go of expensive leases

November 19, 2010
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According to one company, lawyers are wanting out of their car leases more frequently than they were just two years ago.

LeaseTrader.com says lawyers who utilize their service are second in the number of vehicle leases up for trade than other professions. In 2008, 26 percent of lawyers got out of their expensive car leases; in 2010, the number jumped to 51 percent.

To be included in the report, a driver had to have a car valued at $40,000 or more in the LeaseTrader.com marketplace to escape the lease contract. The website allows people to take over leases or get out of their current lease.

Who’s trying to get out of their expensive leases most often? Doctors. Of the five professions listed, insurance brokers are doing the best – only 17 percent of people in that industry want out of their leases.

What I find most interesting about this snippet of data is that women are wanting out of their leases less frequently than men. Sixty-five percent of attorneys who wanted to give up their BMW or Mercedes leases were men; only 35 percent were women. Across the board in all the professions listed, women were far less likely to want out of their lease. The exception is Realtors, where it’s nearly a 50/50 split between males and females.

Why could this be? LeaseTrader.com hypothesizes it’s because women in general aren’t feeling the pain as much as men seem to be in this current economic climate. A possibility, but I’d offer a guess that it has to do with the number of female attorneys who would be able to afford a lease of $40,000 or more. The number of female partners is low. I glanced at the websites of two Indianapolis-based firms with locations around the state, country, and/or world. Less than 20 percent of partners are women.

Women are also more likely than men to work reduced hours or part time, making them less able to afford a higher-priced lease. Perhaps it’s just that women are more likely to buy their expensive car instead of leasing it.

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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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