Fix the System!

     “Many things are wrong with the legal system.”
     OK. What are some of those things?
     The quote is from a press release issued last week by a law firm called 1-800-LAW-FIRM, PLLC that doesn’t provide any examples of the many wrong things.
     I guess we’re all supposed to know what they are, and maybe we do.
     Apparently, 1-800 knows, because it assures us that it “works tirelessly on a case by case basis to right these wrongs.”
     Sounds tiring. Imagine having to right wrongs with the system with every case that walks into your office.
     This might be the reason that the firm is seeking outside help for wrong-righting. The press release announced a law student essay contest. The prize is $10,000 for tuition and law school fees, and the topic is: “What would you do to improve the legal system?”
     I’d probably start with better courthouse cafeterias, but I guess you could make a case for more courts and more judges. I’m not sure you need an essay contest to figure those things out.
     But there may indeed be innovative answers out there waiting to be written about, though I see a problem with this particular contest approach: the contestants.
     Does it make sense to ask for solutions from people who don’t know much about the law yet, since they haven’t finished or perhaps even begun law school, let alone real world practice?
     Would you ask a nerdy guy who hasn’t started college computer classes yet to solve your tech problems?
     I don’t think so.
     So I’m announcing my own essay contest covering the same topic. You may enter only if you’ve had at least 10 years experience practicing law or being tied up in litigation.
     I don’t have a spare $10,000 to award the winner, but I’ll link to your essay in this column and maybe give you a shout out on Twitter.
     Fame awaits.
     The 1-800 contest, by the way, offers one more odd and ambiguous thing for the winner: “The prize will be presented in front of the highest court in the land, at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.”
     How far in front?
     Will this be inside or outside the building?
     Will there be any justices there?
     Do you have to pay for your own trip to D.C. to get your check?
     Are you likely to be arrested for conducting a demonstration in front of the court?
     If your essay recommends doing away with the Supreme Court, will security be provided?
     If you win my contest, I’ll let you take a selfie and post it on Twitter.
     I think my photo-op prize is better.
     A Funny Thing: I know humor is a subjective thing. Some of you out there may think these columns are serious.
     Whether you think that or not, take me seriously now and check out what I think is supposed to be a lawyer promotional website:
     Then check out the “Legal Laughs” page.
     I’ll wait here while you amuse yourself …
     Yes, humor is a subjective thing.
     Bet you can think of a few guys now who aren’t going to be getting new clients inspired by this website.
     There are hours of entertainment waiting for you on LawTube. I had to force myself away from the screen to finish this column.
     If nothing else, check out the “reality series” featuring a very unsympathetic Alabama judge dealing with, um, perhaps intellectually challenged defendants.
     My favorite is the episode featuring a harangue by the judge about the inappropriateness of wearing shorts to court.
     The punch line of the episode is that the guy is there to plead not guilty to running a stop sign.
     Definitely an occasion for formal wear.

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