I recently spent two weeks in the heart of Los Angeles. As I walked the neighborhoods, the smell of marijuana and tobacco danced from the streets and into my nostrils. Girls in mini- skirts and fishnet stockings winked and waved at men in their cars. I watched homeless men carry “help me” signs, and every so often they scratched at their soiled beards. Over a loud- speaker I could hear a voice screaming Bible verses and calling down fire upon sinners.
I remember a towering, kind, and genteel law professor who taught us how to craft our arguments to the jury in order to collect monetary damages on behalf of injured clients. Before many states instituted the current monetary limits on what an injured person could recover in court, lawyers like him appealed to personal outrage and the great sympathy of the jury. Juries, moved by these arguments, would often award huge sums to the victims or families of the victims to “make them whole again.”