Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peter Halmos -- Will His Ship Ever Come In?



That toe-tappin' crippled yacht case is slowly limping to port, as the parties prepare their post-trial proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

And the beat goes on.

It took me all morning to read Steve Marino's excellent 85-page brief, which sets forth in exquisite detail the mountain of commercial litigation required to get the parties to this point (and they're not even done yet).

I guess one SIMPLY AMAZING! thing that fascinates me about this case is the uncontrollable variables that have entered into what should otherwise be a straightforward insurance coverage dispute.

Between the lawyers, the rulings, the clients and the witnesses you have a near-perfect s@#tstorm of what can go wrong when parties engage in f*$k the costs, balls-to-the-wall litigation.

It's almost an ideal case study for commercial litigators in that the subject matter could be anything -- widgets, yachts, whatever -- and the disputes seem both wildly impossible yet depressingly familiar to any of us who do this for a living.

Turning back to Roy Black's intriguing suggestions for UM Law, how in the hail do you teach kids to handle crap like this?

Seriously, how do you -- or even should you -- teach law students to do this type of litigation effectively?

Efficiently?

In such a way that they don't leave the office at night stupefied, screaming at the walls, drinking themselves to oblivion on a Tuesday, and allegedly challenging their girlfriends to naked post-shower sword fights?

14 comments:

  1. Hey now, wait a second. Many of us engage in all of that, sans the sword fighting bit.

    Are you saying that we're doing it all wrong?

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  2. You have all morning to spend on this crap? Next time let me know and I can send you on some depos or give you a brief to proof read for me. This case is why our legal system is broken.

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  3. I did what most busy lawyers do -- I had my associate perform a live dramatization while I enjoyed a haircut.

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  4. Never enough of the cranky old Jew, or Jews as it is!! ;9

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  5. Peter Halmos has always been deeply appreciative of the opportunities that he has found in America and has remained committed to using his resources to help others, especially children.

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  6. @Online Roulette: Care to expand on the statement about helping children?

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  7. On such an afternoon, if ever, the Lord High Chancellor ought to be sitting here—as here he is—with a foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains, addressed by a large advocate with great whiskers, a little voice, and an interminable brief, and outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog. On such an afternoon some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be—as here they are—mistily engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horsehair warded heads against walls of words and making a pretence of equity with serious faces, as players might. On such an afternoon the various solicitors in the cause, some two or three of whom have inherited it from their fathers, who made a fortune by it, ought to be—as are they not?—ranged in a line, in a long matted well (but you might look in vain for truth at the bottom of it) between the registrar's red table and the silk gowns, with bills, cross-bills, answers, rejoinders, injunctions, affidavits, issues, references to masters, masters' reports, mountains of costly nonsense, piled before them. Well may the court be dim, with wasting candles here and there; well may the fog hang heavy in it, as if it would never get out; well may the stained-glass windows lose their colour and admit no light of day into the place; well may the uninitiated from the streets, who peep in through the glass panes in the door, be deterred from entrance by its owlish aspect and by the drawl, languidly echoing to the roof from the padded dais where the Lord High Chancellor looks into the lantern that has no light in it and where the attendant wigs are all stuck in a fog-bank! This is the Court of Chancery, which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire, which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse and its dead in every churchyard, which has its ruined suitor with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress borrowing and begging through the round of every man's acquaintance, which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give—who does not often give—the warning, "Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!"

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  8. Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs I've come across in some time.

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  12. They do that because they see themselves a lot better than the others. Its pitiful.

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  14. It won't truly have effect, I suppose so.

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