David Sedaris (Google him) has stated that if he thinks he’s gotten nothing finished, he has solely to have a look at his crammed wastebasket and assume that the time wasn’t completely wasted. Our 2021 wastebaskets are overflowing. All of the hopes for a return to regular that we had have been shredded. Let’s stipulate that everybody is delighted to see this yr finish.
What a awful yr. Would anybody disagree? Those that have obtained big bonuses for all of the arduous work finished this yr would possibly, however are these sufficient to compensate for the losses, the heartaches, the complications, the diseases, the upside-down nature of lives this yr? Methods to resolve what’s essential and what’s not at this yr’s finish? Who’s essential to you and who isn’t?
However I couldn’t let this yr finish with out a little little bit of snark, which is the one factor in sufficient provide, in contrast to COVID-19 residence assessments.
We all the time prefer to have the final phrase, and judges all the time have it. Legal professionals (keep in mind that judges had been attorneys first) additionally prefer to have it, be it in court docket or on the telephone or e-mail or a textual content, however will we ever learn the way simply to let it go? The final phrase isn’t essentially the most effective, as now we have seen throughout this previous yr.
January sixth, to vax or to not vax, to booster or to not booster, to masks or to not masks, sorry Will, however these have been the questions this yr. Courtrooms closed, courtrooms reopened, however solely to a restricted diploma. Courts twisting themselves into pretzels in efforts to say, in a temperate means, that stare decisis is numerous hooey and has no precedential worth anymore.
We are able to disagree however not be unpleasant, however settlement is a relic of olden instances when compromise was not a unclean phrase and folks labored collectively for the frequent good. Is there a typical good anymore? What if extra-terrestrials attacked us? Would we, might we, unite to struggle a typical enemy? If the pandemic is any instance of how we’d react as a rustic, we’re toast.
The antics of these in our career, each attorneys and judges, continued to amaze this yr. Did all of them actually move the bar? And for individuals who rose to the bench, the place was their judgment? I forgot, they left it again in chambers, or it’s in David Sedaris’s overflowing wastebasket. Right here’s a traditional instance of a decide who was tossed off the bench for a wide range of causes, together with calling one other decide an “Uncle Tom,” an worker a “heifer,” and utilizing Fb aliases to speak with events about their pending litigation. Wait, what? There’s extra however that’s sufficient to present you a way of why she was eliminated.
I’m repeatedly shocked that people who find themselves speculated to be good go away all their brains behind them after they submit on social (aka unsocial) media. I see the path of discarded brains, akin to the Hansel and Gretel (Google them) crumbs, when attorneys and judges submit. You’d assume (assuming details not in proof) that judges would have the ability to distinguish when private feedback on social media make sense and after they don’t. Neutrality? What’s that?
And don’t get me began on attorneys on social media. Is an apology enough for “overheated rhetoric”? You inform me. As soon as it’s on social media it’s on the market, ceaselessly.
And whose vibrant concept was it to insert nasty feedback (e.g., antisemitic) about opposing counsel in post-trial filings? This conduct took the idea of “sore loser” to new depths and as soon as once more confirmed that prejudice in opposition to minorities continues to be alive and nicely. The essence of low-cost pictures, the trial court docket agreed and benchslapped counsel for its reprehensible remarks. Simply because the plaintiff was an Israeli firm and the defendant was Amazon was no foundation for locating antisemitism.
Sanctions? Plaintiff’s counsel have been ordered to take 30 hours of ethics MCLE. BFD. How about reporting them to their bar disciplinary workplaces and mandating professional bono work for Jewish organizations serving to the final dwelling Holocaust survivors obtain reparations from Germany? They usually must overview the historical past of Jewish legislation companies in New York Metropolis, when Biglaw companies weren’t hiring greater than token Jews, if any, and so many Jewish companies had been startups, lengthy earlier than the time period got here into being as a result of the attorneys didn’t have another choices. It wasn’t all that way back.
My hope is that this coming yr will likely be higher for all of us, that the career will proceed to develop in variety, fairness, and inclusion, that civility would be the rule, reasonably than the exception, and that attorneys will “present, not inform,” driving a stake via the guts of prejudice, in no matter kinds, and above all, simply not being a jerk.
The late humorist Sam Levenson (Google him) stated: “It’s so easy to be clever. Simply consider one thing silly to say after which don’t say it.” If even one particular person heeds his phrases, then 2022 will likely be off to begin. Right here’s a New Yr’s decision for us all: STFU.
Jill Switzer has been an energetic member of the State Bar of California for over 40 years. She remembers training legislation in a kinder, gentler time. She’s had a various authorized profession, together with stints as a deputy district lawyer, a solo observe, and several other senior in-house gigs. She now mediates full-time, which supplies her the chance to see dinosaurs, millennials, and people in-between work together — it’s not all the time civil. You’ll be able to attain her by e-mail at email@example.com.