Dear Justice Tongue:
I was brought up short the other day when opposing counsel objected to all of my discovery because I had not first served initial disclosures. They also objected because my standard set of rogs and requests supposedly exceeded some new artificially low limit under the “new rules”. “What new rules ?” I asked aloud, at which time I was informed by the receptionist that the discovery rules had been turned on their head. I immediately suspected a meddlesome committee of “liberal elites” bent on having the government interfere with the courts. Why can’t they leave us alone to duke it out as we always have? Why fix something that isn’t broken? What is the great Justice Tongue’s take on these new and unimproved pesky products of committee chaos?
Oh my! How exactly are you employing the term “new?” Or let me be more pointed in my examination. What percentage of your billable hours are logged during waking hours? You say your receptionist brought you up to speed. I suspect the janitor could have done so as well.
Oh, what a burden has been placed upon you as a member of the bar to actually have to read and implement something new with the hope and ambition of expediting the judicial resolution of disputes. Oh sure, you and your kindred have been endowed a legal monopoly in the right to represent the interest of others in court and the power to exact ever-escalating fees in endless senseless battles over information that rational minds would freely exchange. What an intrusion on your solitude just because clients are completely dependent on your efforts (or lack thereof) to represent and efficiently promote their interests.
Hmm, I just wonder if in your apparently few sentient moments you could grasp the larger concept that the practice of law is not just about you. There is that pesky problem of the clients’ best interest and the fact that you may be doing as much harm to them as the corporate malefactors that drove them into your grasp in the first place. Ask your receptionist if he or she could afford to protect his or her rights in a system that spends most of its time and energy dancing around the universe of possibilities, all the while emptying the client’s pockets long before the few and the well healed can taste the sweet relief of some measure of resolution. With increasing impatience I watch unprepared and distracted “advocates” going through the motions (pun intended) with little evidence that they have any intent or ability to bring matters to trial. It is as if they exist in an insular reality in which the process is the product, and the overweening reality is their status in the law firm’s hourly billing marathon.
Do not get me wrong, the revisions to the discovery rules are far from perfect. But you need to hear the wake up call. If the hallowed system of distributive justice is not serving the interests of real people with real problems (you know the people that vote), they won’t value it. This just in: people will not protect that which they do not value. In other words, they will allow your precious franchise to go bye-bye and the monied malefactors will have their way with this branch of government as well.
I am guessing that by now you are completely lost. Okay. Take this meager offering to your receptionist (or janitor) and let them continue to “bring you up to speed”.