Gavel to Gavel

How many times can you explain what hearsay means? Yes, this is an idle and ridiculous question — you can explain a concept an infinite number of times if you really wanted to and had an infinite amount of time — but the question occurred to me last week after taking a look at a preview of a new show on the soon-to-be-revived Court TV.

Yes, Court TV is returning next month with “live gavel-to-gavel coverage.” I have no idea what this means. Unless Court TV has hundreds of thousands of simultaneous streams and tolerance for excruciating boredom, I’m guessing this gavel-to-gavel thing isn’t happening.

Or maybe they haven’t realized there’s more than one trial.

Court TV’s press release last week says the gavel-to-gavel coverage will be “of the most important and compelling trials being conducted across America.” I can’t wait for the breathless descriptions of mass torts, class actions and intellectual property disputes.

Yeah, I know the Court TV pronouncements are just hype, but you’d think they’d be a little less silly. In just one short video on their website, you can be entertained by phrases such as “your front-row seat to justice” and “true crime in real time.” And when was the last time you saw anyone use a gavel?

Maybe the Court TV “seasoned journalists and lawyers” will do the gaveling before and after commercial breaks.

If you have some spare time, you can have some fun Googling the seasoned journalists featured on the Court TV website. They do seem qualified — I’m not casting aspersions — but I’m enjoying imagining the talent search that produced this group.

For example, we’ll be able to enjoy a former Miss Arkansas with impressive credentials as a legal correspondent.

How did she get this job? Well, she’s quoted in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette saying “They found me. They reached out to me.”

After an extensive search, I’m sure.

We’ll also have a former Pittsburgh Penguins cheerleader. Again, no aspersions — she seems perfectly qualified — but that search….

I’m sure the new Court TV will be entertaining and it confirms my theory that law is turning into sports. “What SportsCenter is to sports, Closing Arguments (a Court TV show) will be to the legal world,” said the show’s anchor in the press release.

For more evidence, we have another press release issued last week from Bloomberg Law touting its “Litigation Analytics,” which provides “a wealth of easily accessible data to analyze the experience, expertise, and past performance of prospective outside counsel in front of a particular judge or on behalf of a given company.”

I wonder how left-handed lawyers do in front of right-handed judges.

If this sort of thing catches on among companies looking to hire outside counsel, we may soon see another phenomenon: stats padding.

Why take on a weak case if it’s going to harm your chances of getting hired? Why not focus on sure-thing winners to make yourself look good?

If you’re stuck with a loser, you can avoid the numbers hit with a quick settlement.

This may actually cut down on court congestion.

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