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Law Rules

How we resolve our disputes

Monday
May252009

Welcome to Law Rules!

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine with the following link: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0430091jury1.html

The e-mail contained the comment that this link showed a guy who really didn’t want to do his jury duty.  My comment is: guys like this should be prosecuted criminally.  Then, when they plead not guilty and are asked whether or not they want a trial to the court or to a jury, we’ll see what they really think of jury duty.

My point is not that I take offense to a joke about our legal system.  Many websites have collected and published lawyer jokes, some of which are funny.  In fact, the person who sent me the e-mail with the above link is himself a lawyer.  Professor Galanter notes that lawyer bashing has been around since the beginning of U.S. history.  But my experience is that our system of justice is what keeps our society civil and livable.  At a minimum, it sure beats the law of the jungle or street justice.

Having practiced law for more than 30 years, it is time that I started to share some of my observations about how we settle disputes in our system of justice (and the other two branches of government).  Since the government has (or is supposed to have) a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, I can think of no more worthy topic for my first foray into the blogosphere.  I do not think our judicial system needs me to be its apologist and I will not try to do that.  Rather, I will try to highlight how and when it works and doesn’t work.  I may even explore ways to improve it, including alternate means of dispute resolution, such as mediation and arbitration.

In any event, I will try to keep my posts timely and relevant.  I invite your comments and I’ll publish the most worthy and coherent.

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