Moonlighting

Now I’m really depressed. The news business has gotten so bad that journalists are having to do other weird jobs on the side just to get by. I learned this the other day when I got a mysterious email from the L A. Times, with a subject line: “A Special Message from Davan Maharaj, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher.” For me?

Had the Times finally come to its senses and realized it needed a columnist who knows how to make snide remarks about hard-working lawyers and judges?

Imagine my disappointment when the message turned out to be an ad for “Los Angeles Times Expeditions,” a company offering trips led by actual Times journalists.

I’m guessing they’re scheduled on slow news days.

I’ve been in this news business a long time, so I’ve met many journalists. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t trust most of them to guide me anywhere.

But perhaps I’m being unfair. The reporters listed as “expedition experts” looked as if they knew their stuff. This, of course, made me wonder why they weren’t doing their stuff.

So I have a feeling I may need to branch out before this journalism career ship runs aground.

Fortunately, I have a few ideas. If there are any reporters out there reading this (which seems pretty unlikely), feel free to utilize these concepts.

Lunch. One of the skills I’ve developed in my years of journalism is lunch. Imagine a tour in which I unlock the secrets of finding the best sushi in the county’s courthouses and the grocery stores with the finest free samples.

Traffic Navigation Tutorial. Learn and marvel at my amazing Los Angeles County traffic avoidance techniques. Years of driving to random events and out-of-the way courthouses have taught me the best routes to take and when to take them.

Mostly it’s just avoiding rush hours.

The Interviewing Master Class. Participants will be instructed to walk up to strangers and ask their opinions on topics they know nothing about. Among the important techniques learned will be when to tell when an interviewee is about to pull out pepper spray and how to restrain eye rolls.

If the class is taught by a television reporter, it can include tips on how to stand in front of a building where nothing is happening.

The Observational Experience. For those of you interested in a career like mine (until you have to give tours for a living), I might offer the opportunity for a select, well-paying group to observe me as I spend hours and hours during a day reading legal documents.

It’s an experience you won’t forget, whether you want to or not.

 

Favorite Headline of the Week: “Was Denial of Open Book Bar Exam for Man with Memory Loss an ADA Violation?”

Yes, it’s yet another question headline and I think the answer is pretty clear. If a guy can’t remember things, he probably isn’t a good bet as a lawyer.

Just deny his application. He won’t remember it happened anyway.

Be that as it may, I was intrigued by the concept of the bar exam being open book. After all, when you think about it, the practice of law is open book.

Nobody says you can’t look up the law when researching a case. In fact, not doing that research is pretty much discouraged.

So what’s the point of a closed-book bar exam? It certainly doesn’t reveal any real-life ability, unless there’s a game show involved.

Instead, would-be lawyers should be given a hypothetical case and allowed to deal with it as they see fit.

If their answers would get them some serious billable hours, they get admitted to the bar.

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