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Subject: The American legal system is weird rss

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Josh
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Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of having several interactions with the legal system, civil and otherwise. The details aren't important, and go firmly under the heading of "the price of doing business." I can say without hyperbole that I'm almost messianic in my blamelessness.

I'm amazed at the amount of "hurry up and wait" that occurs in the legal system. There are very, very long stretches where nothing happens, punctuated by frantic spazzouts.


Me: "Uhh, oh hey it's your client. Should I be doing anything? Should you be doing anything? I'm gonna be pretty pissed if the first inkling that we should have been "doing something" is a flashbang grenade thrown through my bedroom window at 4:30 in the morning by a deputy named "Colten.""
Counsel: "Nah, its cool. I'd let you know if there was any action."
FOUR DAYS LATER
Counsel: "HOLY SHIT DUDE I have a tweaky bike courier bringing over a document that has to be signed, notarized, and returned TODAY."


I know that it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but I'm struck that the system seems lurchy.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: The American legal system is weirdoes
NOT so 'important enough' with having HIM bring that and a 'Notary' along either? SEND "Wonk`n Willie" on his 'Unicycle' with the "Flat Tire Bier"! shake
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Captain Nemo
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JoshBot wrote:
Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of having several interactions with the legal system, civil and otherwise. The details aren't important, and go firmly under the heading of "the price of doing business." I can say without hyperbole that I'm almost messianic in my blamelessness.

I'm amazed at the amount of "hurry up and wait" that occurs in the legal system. There are very, very long stretches where nothing happens, punctuated by frantic spazzouts.


Me: "Uhh, oh hey it's your client. Should I be doing anything? Should you be doing anything? I'm gonna be pretty pissed if the first inkling that we should have been "doing something" is a flashbang grenade thrown through my bedroom window at 4:30 in the morning by a deputy named "Colten.""
Counsel: "Nah, its cool. I'd let you know if there was any action."
FOUR DAYS LATER
Counsel: "HOLY SHIT DUDE I have a tweaky bike courier bringing over a document that has to be signed, notarized, and returned TODAY."


I know that it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but I'm struck that the system seems lurchy.


I think you will find the rest of the world is little different.
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J J
Australia
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hammurabi70 wrote:
JoshBot wrote:
Over the past few years I've had the pleasure of having several interactions with the legal system, civil and otherwise. The details aren't important, and go firmly under the heading of "the price of doing business." I can say without hyperbole that I'm almost messianic in my blamelessness.

I'm amazed at the amount of "hurry up and wait" that occurs in the legal system. There are very, very long stretches where nothing happens, punctuated by frantic spazzouts.


Me: "Uhh, oh hey it's your client. Should I be doing anything? Should you be doing anything? I'm gonna be pretty pissed if the first inkling that we should have been "doing something" is a flashbang grenade thrown through my bedroom window at 4:30 in the morning by a deputy named "Colten.""
Counsel: "Nah, its cool. I'd let you know if there was any action."
FOUR DAYS LATER
Counsel: "HOLY SHIT DUDE I have a tweaky bike courier bringing over a document that has to be signed, notarized, and returned TODAY."


I know that it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but I'm struck that the system seems lurchy.


I think you will find the rest of the world is little different.


True. It is a combination of law firms taking on far more work than they can handle at any given time, and the time-frames built into many areas of law - so when a particular step of a given legal process has 30 days before any further action can be taken, you can safely bet anything you like that the next part will not be prepared before 28 days have passed. And more frequently won't even be started at that point (which leads to the holy shit moment above).

Even with something as basic as conveyancing, where everybody knows the dates involved, and all parties are happy, and it's just a matter of going through the motions as set out by legislation, the lawyers (and the clerks, they deserve a chunk of blame too) just will not prepare in advance even when you instruct them to do so. The clerks at least have an excuse - endless mountains of other work with even earlier deadlines than yours. The lawyers... no, no excuses really.

(to be perfectly fair, in my decade and more of witnessing this from the inside, I did know a couple of lawyers who made a point of getting things sorted out in a timely fashion, but they were unfortunately the exceptions, and were sort of (being young and keen) fighting against the general culture in which most lawyers just unthinkingly develop)
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Based upon my poor understanding of history, science, and ethics...
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"If you have a weak case, you delay.

Try for a forced error, or a key witness to die."

-Lawyering 101 copyright 1375.
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Chris Binkowski
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JoshBot wrote:


I know that it's hard to make predictions, especially about the future, but I'm struck that the system seems lurchy.


Compound this with not knowing what is legal or illegal from day to day, and you have a populace living under legalistic tyranny.
 
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Chris
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I don't have time to make a lengthy response because I am busy running around doing last minute shit due to the incompetence of others, but this happens all the time, not just in the judicial system. It's because most people are incompetent idiots. See my engagement above for proof. When I get more time and I'm not in a waiting room doing a hurry up and wait operation and not on my phone I will elaborate.
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Andy Daglish
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hammurabi70 wrote:
I think you will find the rest of the world is little different.

The difference is that you pay lawyers in the UK for acts specified in their bill. American lawyers are generally retained, so they are paid daily, weekly or monthly, whether or not they do anything.

The common job profile of UK business people is accountant, who tend to do well as they are closest the the money. In America it is lawyer.

The American healthcare system, which effectively means the very tough call of remunerating medical workers, is still not good. The political system is weak, presently mediated by largely failed candidates. Then there's the various exterminations by firearm at which honest Daleks blush.

The country still labors under a anachronistic colonial attitude that tends to hang on to what few shreds of historical identity they have, which doesn't form much of an underpinning for the wholesale reform that is so desperately required. Liberty & freedom actually mean anarchy, and the strange American attachment to Christianity -- another retarded societal element -- indicates a desperate desire for otherwise absent higher authority. You all can't carry on quoting the Founding Fathers much longer into the 21st century. Time to move on & up.

I guess there's British colonial rule, not that the influence isn't already enormous anyway, eg. financial investment. There's no proof that the outcome of the Revolutionary War was the desirable one.
 
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Damian
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aforandy wrote:
American lawyers are generally retained, so they are paid daily, weekly or monthly, whether or not they do anything.

Admittedly I don't hire a lot of lawyers but this doesn't seem correct at all. Every individual I know with a legal need has consulted a lawyer, discussed their needs and agreed on a fee (which is usually hourly but occasionally a set fee for something like a contract review). I don't know of any individual who pays a lawyer "just in case". I suppose the very wealthy might, and there's probably that range where a business is large enough to need regular legal work but too small to hire full time counsel, but neither of those things seem like the norm for attorney fee arrangements.
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J.D. Hall
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Sarxis wrote:

Compound this with not knowing what is legal or illegal from day to day, and you have a populace living under legalistic tyranny.


laughlaughlaugh

Wait ... you were SERIOUS?

laughlaughlaugh
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Robert Stuart
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The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".
 
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J J
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bob_santafe wrote:
The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".


I might quibble with that, but I see a bigger problem ahead

What is "justice"?
 
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Les Marshall
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aforandy wrote:

The difference is that you pay lawyers in the UK for acts specified in their bill. American lawyers are generally retained, so they are paid daily, weekly or monthly, whether or not they do anything.



Generally retained? Huh!? That may come as a surprise to many of my colleagues who work on a a percentage, or submit hourly billing, or even for a flat fee. I never collected a retainer. None of the estates attorneys I've employed has collected a retainer.

In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld, "Who are these people?"

bob_santafe wrote:
The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".


Says who? The law is about a great deal more and less. While those of us in the legal field do hope to promote justice, the actual formation and implementation of law is about order.

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Robert Stuart
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JasonJ0 wrote:
bob_santafe wrote:
The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".


I might quibble with that, but I see a bigger problem ahead

What is "justice"?


It begins with developing the ability to see things with your own eyes and to know from your own knowledge.
 
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Robert Stuart
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Rulesjd wrote:
bob_santafe wrote:
The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".


Says who? The law is about a great deal more and less.

Hmmm. Interesting response. Regarding law, there is nothing greater than justice. And anything less becomes mindless or interest-serving rule-making.

Rulesjd wrote:
While those of us in the legal field do hope to promote justice, the actual formation and implementation of law is about order.

I'm not criticizing lawyers themselves. My daughter is a lawyer, for one thing, and I'm proud of her. And most lawyers I've known personally do hope to promote justice. And, order is an element of justice.

But, let me approach it from another direction: I once heard a prominent University educator, in a public meeting and in response to questions about what he was doing vs the reality of the school system, say, "I'm in bind. I can either train teachers to work in schools which don't exist, or I can train them to work in schools which shouldn't exist." So it goes back to my original statement: the system needs a major overhaul.

 
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Paul DeStefano
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I have a pending lawsuit for my bicycle accident.

It was in 2012.

I get all sorts of letters on when I have to show up for exams, depositions, so on. I always call the law office and see if I should schedule a day off.

Nope. They know it's going to be postponed for reason X or Y.

Some days I have to go and sign a document. THAT DAY. Just to have the next meeting postponed again.
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Les Marshall
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bob_santafe wrote:
Rulesjd wrote:
bob_santafe wrote:
The system does need a major overhaul. We can begin by repeating the mantra, "the law is about administering justice".


Says who? The law is about a great deal more and less.

Hmmm. Interesting response. Regarding law, there is nothing greater than justice. And anything less becomes mindless or interest-serving rule-making.

Rulesjd wrote:
While those of us in the legal field do hope to promote justice, the actual formation and implementation of law is about order.

I'm not criticizing lawyers themselves. My daughter is a lawyer, for one thing, and I'm proud of her. And most lawyers I've known personally do hope to promote justice. And, order is an element of justice.

But, let me approach it from another direction: I once heard a prominent University educator, in a public meeting and in response to questions about what he was doing vs the reality of the school system, say, "I'm in bind. I can either train teachers to work in schools which don't exist, or I can train them to work in schools which shouldn't exist." So it goes back to my original statement: the system needs a major overhaul.



Justice, simply put, is a utopian concept with highly subjective overtones. In any given set of circumstances, you are unlikely to arrive at a unanimous or even substantive majority position as to precisely what justice would look like.

Law is a vastly complicated subject as it touches on a variety of human activities including (though not limited to) regulation of transactions, criminal behavior and civil or tortuous wrongs. It is depended upon to supply a relatively safe and predictable way of resolving disputes absent violence. It supplies punishment, deterrence and possibly rehabilitation to criminal wrongdoers. It also supplies compensation to those wronged by criminal or civil misdeeds. The adversarial nature of our system seeks to instill a kind of "acid test" to the arguments of each side.

It would be interesting to have a look at what you might consider such an overhaul to look like. American law and jurisprudence, which found it's origins in English common law, has been developing for the last 230+ years. What are the problems you would most readily identify?

Just recall, law is a human endeavor, conceived of, implemented by and serving people who are, by definition, imperfect in both their performance and perceptions.
 
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