I Have Questions

     Random thoughts on assorted topics.
     What’s in a name?
     I don’t know the answer to that question but apparently it’s important.
     I know this because the New Jersey Supreme Court last week ruled that a child’s best interests must be considered in a dispute over his or her name.
     Check it out. The case is Emma v. Evans and the court ruled that “Applying the best-interests-of-the-child test in the context of a dispute over whether to change a child’s name requires a fact-sensitive analysis.”
     We’re talking about the names of a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old in this case.
     And their names were being debated after years of litigation before a state Supreme Court – which decided to remand the dispute to a lower court for further analysis.
     I see psychiatry in someone’s future.
     And just exactly what are the best interests of a child when it comes to names?
     If we’re talking about whether they should be called or Stinkyhead or Beaverbreath, I could maybe see the problem. But the last-name choices are Emma or Evans.
     Admittedly, the court does list some criteria – things like how long the kid has used a particular name, whether he or she identifies with a particular part of a family, and “the child’s preference if the child is mature enough to express it.”
     With that last criterion, Stinkyhead may have a shot.
     But I’m pretty sure the court missed an important “best interest” factor: How much time and money their parents spend suing each other.
     There’s not a lot of best interest here.
     
     Long or short?
     When is a short list not exactly short?
     I don’t know the answer to that question either, but I did wonder about it when I saw the “short list” for the 2013 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards.
     It’s kind of a long list. I guess it’s a small percentage of all the law firms out there, but there are still quite a few names.
     By the way, don’t fret if you’ve been left out – these are awards for European law firms. They also don’t have anything to do (at least as far I can tell) with how good a law firm is. The awards are for innovation – doing something different to make money or help clients.
     If you’ve done great work, but you did it the same way you did it last year, you’re not getting an award.
     At first the only explanation I could come up with for rewarding this sort of lawyer behavior was to keep lawyers from getting bored. But then I saw the schedule for the event.
     It starts with an hour and 10 minutes worth of champagne reception.
     Then there’s just under two hours for dinner.
     And after an interlude for awards, there’s an hour for “post-event drinks.”
     Now it makes sense.
     
     Irony Department
     You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, the California Sea Urchin Commission was one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that claimed that sea otters (aka brimleys) could wipe out the urchin population (or at least eat all the urchins before humans could).
     There’s been an interesting development on the urchin front.
     Last week, the Los Angeles Times in a front page story reported that urchins, at least in one coastal area, are overrunning the place and could wipe out endangered kelp.
     Sea otters to the rescue?
     Stay tuned for more litigation.
     I can’t wait to find out what the kelp is endangering.

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