New York chief judge Janet DiFiore
Dear Chief Judge DiFiore:
Seriously? Have you put together a commission to develop a comprehensive vision of the court system of the future and stacked it with lawyers for white shoes? People who don't go to court daily or even weekly?
Your commission is mandated to study, among other things, the increased use of technology and online platforms and to make recommendations to improve the provision and quality of judicial services, to facilitate access to justice and to better equip the New York state judicial system keep The rapidly developing changes in society. "
This concept is great. And long overdue.
But instead of commissioning this commission with many of the thousands of lawyers working in the trenches, it appears to be mostly filled with commercial “litigators” that rarely appear in the well.
If I represented WalMart, I would be happy about your selection. If I portray the person who was hurt when a stack of goods fell on her head, not so much.
Let's look at some of these companies on your list. Gibson Dunn. Sullivan & Cromwell. Paul Weiss. Davis Polk. Bracewell. And Greenberg Traurig has two. To the extent that one of their lawyers routinely appears in court, whose interests do they represent?
In your opinion, how many judgments have these lawyers made in the past 10 years?
You know what's missing, don't you? Perhaps some lawyers working in the courthouses every day have an opinion on "Recommendations to improve the delivery and quality of judicial services"? Perhaps their experiences with customers who repeatedly leave work because of unnecessary conferences are a wake-up call for some?
How about personal injury? In 2008, apparently before a life, I bit and groaned in this room about the spectacular way we manage to waste time in court. In particular, I referred to the Brooklyn Compliance Part, where I calculated that we waste about $ 10 million in time each year. From just one courtroom.
Perhaps one or two marital lawyers to express their opinions well from the courtroom? Maybe a landlord? And not from the landlord side.
Wouldn't you like a variety of perspectives on the "fairness, efficiency, and effectiveness" of the system and the impact on people forced through the doors of the courthouse?
At least half of the commission should consist of people with extensive experience in the courthouses. And people who, unlike big business, work on the consumer side of the law. Not just one or two people.
I posted some suggestions in 2008 (which I updated on March 13 after the virus changed our world) that could help get our dishes out of their creaky and arthritic state. Especially for "high volume" parts where the personal injury rod has an unbearable amount of experience.
It was a list anyone could have made up, spent time in court, and even thought a little about. And Lord knows we had time to think about it while sitting on those damn benches, sometimes for hours.
How many of the lawyers on this list can assess the importance of problems they don't have? And to do this on behalf of customers who may have to postpone these cases and not have to bring them to a halt because their lives have changed?
How many of the lawyers on this list made clients cry in their offices because their world was falling apart?
I know I have to take a certain risk if I call you by name. If I'm lucky enough to argue in front of you, and this post somehow makes it into your inbox, you might remember me. And maybe not so lovingly.
But that's crazy. If you want to reform our judicial system – and I know you do – you need to fill your commission with people who know what it's like to sit in a room with 100 other lawyers who are cooling their healings down to their 30s Wait seconds on the bench.
I beg, plead, plead, and plead with you. Get people on this commission to represent the consumer side of the law, people who walk through the halls of our courts every day.
Here is my short list of ideas from 2008 – a list that I made before fillable PDFs and online filing made these things even easier::
First: The court must create an electronic template for its compliance orders that lawyers can use, with the dates required for completion and a future conference. That is the easy part;
Second: Each pre-conference should include a provision that lawyers must hold a conference call at least 20 days prior to the compliance conference so that they can use this template to complete a mandate to complete the pending discovery.
Third: All completed orders can be emailed to the court. This leaves spaces for future court appointments and a place where the lawyers can determine their availability or unavailability due to conflicts. The court prints, signs and archives and the lawyers access the order via eLaw.
Fourth: Unresolved issues must be subject to a judicial conference call with one of the court's lawyers. Planning is done by email with a specific call time.
Fifth: A judicial conference is planned in the event of a real problem that has resisted the solution, or if an unreasonable or disobedient lawyer is involved.
Sixth: Some lawyers are not paid to handle cases efficiently. You are paid to be unreasonable. Wasting time means more billable hours. The court must begin to treat guidelines in preliminary conference assignments more seriously and deal with problematic companies more rigorously than judges in the federal system. This will ultimately force lawyers to sort things out, or risk the court's wrath being inappropriate or routinely ignoring orders.
To update: The new president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Ed Steinberg, has now been accepted into the commission:
“I am grateful to Chief Judge DiFiore, Chief Administrative Judge Larry Marks and Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for New York City, George Silver, for this appointment. I am proud to join this distinguished group of judges, lawyers like Hank Greenberg, academics and technology experts to ensure that tomorrow's court adapts to our clients' needs. I am very happy to hear from the community about their needs in this new era, ”said Steinberg.