I sincerely appreciate Richard Hartzell’s comment on legal matters. In fact I find that he knows more than many local lawyers about subjects which affect the expatriate community !!!
In the forums you’re referring to, Mr Hartzell provides valuable information on laws that are of particular interest to foreign communities. To date, no one has found his comments to be “off the mark.”
To my knowledge, he has liaisoned with many Legislators and other knowledgeable people in the past, and has collected much good legal knowledge in that fashion.
Even if he is not the expert in some particular areas, he can still usually give you some good advice about how to get headed in the right direction …
Should we be overly critical of him?
I think you misunderstand Richard’s mission here. Of course, if I were to get arrested for serial murdering Mando-pop singers, I would probably not call Richard, except maybe for sympathy and understanding. On the other hand, when it comes to staring down the dragon of bureacracy, Richard is my knight in shining armour.
You want to know the ins and outs of getting married to a local? Ask Richard. Curious about how Permanent Residency or the Open Work Permit might apply to a person like you? Ask Richard. Would you like a 6 year driver’s license, like Taiwanese residents get when they pass the driving exam? Richard can guarantee you one. Maybe you want to open a buxiban, heck, not only does Richard know the regulations, he has personally gone through the ordeal. Or perhaps you want to know about the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and the implications it has for local residents. Ask Richard.
… You get the drift. Richard’s powers and knowledge may not be all-encompassing, but they’re still pretty formidable. You don’t need to get down on your knees and worship the guy, but a tip of the hat is in order. I think I speak for many, many foreigners when I say this.
Well written Maoman.
If you had ever made regular use of Chinese lawyers you would end up asking the same question of them. As an sometime paralegal for the China Practice Group of the second biggest law firm in the world, if I ever have a (non-criminal) legal problem in Taiwan, it would be Richard’s door a would be knocking on…!
Richard’s access the the politicians who actually make the law appears to be astonishingly good. Any local lawyer you went to with problems of the type Richard deals with would laugh at you. (“Meiyou banfa.” “Bu xing.” “Bu keneng”. “Meiyou zhege falu” etc.)
One has to have a certain degree of respect for a man who actually sets out to change things which appear unfair, rather than just propping up some bar moaning about it, as I would do (and have done!).
In Taiwan, it is not illegal to offer legal advice. It is illegal to pretend to be a lawyer if you aren’t – the same as it is in most countries. Richard does repeatedly state that he is not a lawyer.
It should be remembered that the USA and Taiwan are different cultural spheres for the rules of law and guanxi practices.
Whom do you have to really thank for your present permanent resident rights? Open employment rights? Maybe even SFPT rights? This guy is the most effective individual in Taiwan. So I wish I could say the same of the noted others supposedly more “qualified”.
If not Hartzell, then who?
Although he has not been admitted to the ROC Bar, that fact alone does not rule out his (still legitimate) political lobbying activities on your behalf or when petitioning the Courts. A proper footnote of disclosure should be added here … but that does not rule out his good social standing.
Apparently the bar in Taiwan is pretty impossible to pass, not like the US. I heard only 10%+ of candidates pass, and this is out of all the graduates from all the law programs in the universities in Taiwan. So I doubt if we’ll be seeing any foreign lawyers handling local Taiwanese cases any time soon.
In most countries it is quite legal to have anyone representing you in court, and that is generally what Richard does as well as providing suggestions and arguments for a particular course or courses of actions.
I had the unfortunate need to speak to Richard not so long ago over such type of matter and to some local solicitors.
Not only were Richard’s replies and suggestions straigh-forward and unbiased, but also practical, something that could not be said for the advice of the local experts, who in two out of three cases basically just turned round and said it was not possible to achieve what we wanted . . . . and the third would not even see us without paying NT$ 5000 for the privilege, so we politely turned round and left.
In most countries it is illegal to pretend to be something you are not, particularly within the legal profession, but as Maoman rightly pointed out Richard does not purport to be a lawyer, but an acknowledged individual who can help in many areas, not just in the courts but also within the political processes and machines here in Taiwan.
If we had more people like Richard then perhaps our lives here as foreigners could be a lot fairer than they currently are.
Richard Hartzell is a cool guy!
He is willing to give advise and do the legwork that the rest of us tend to shrug off.
Keep up the good work - we love you stacks! (My girlfriend wants to give Hartzell a big kiss!)
So the bar is higher here?..
I unfortunately did not know of Richard, Oriented.org, Forumosa.com, or much of anybody when I got arrested for motorcycle theft and run through the Taiwanese courts and was ultimately found guilty for something that amounted to a bit of ignorance! Fair enough for an idiot like me, but I went to the American Institute for advice and was helped little.
I still haven’t called upon Hartzell and my case wasn’t all that good but I would have been happy to connect up just about anybody that could give me a bit clearer picture of how due process works in general or any number of things that might have helped me avoid being on criminal probation now, or having spent thousands of dollars then, or would have given me a better idea of what to expect when my Taiwanese lawyer and ex-D.A. of Taipei couldn’t …
We need all the help we can get in dealing with Taiwanese bureaucracy. I know this well enough.
Richard has been the one light in the whole process of getting laid off recently.
In a very clear way, he spelled out exactly what our options were, whether we wanted to go the route of suing the company or claiming severance.
Unlike every other source, including two government agencies, Richard presented options, not obstacles or maybes, and knew his stuff as far as rights, expectations and limitations on what kind of claim we could hope to pursue.
Apart from his extensive knowledge, it was his ability to make the process manageable and understandable which was just what we needed in the middle of all of the confusion.
Truly an asset and a gem for the foreign community!
I’m sure a lot of people here will second that!