In which I advocate for the creation of a Law ____________, and it will be awesome.

Thanks to a post by my buddy Greenfield, I am now nothing more than a few minutes closer to death, via a video by one of the newest ABA “legal rebels.”

So, basically, what we’ve been needing is a “Law Laboratory” in order to deliver quality and affordable legal care to the masses?

I’m not sure about its actual delivery of legal services, but I’ve discerned from the video that the “Law Laboratory” does the following:

1. Holds events in various locations.

2. Has a spiffy website.

3. Talks about stuff with people.

4. Does not wear lab coats.

This sounds like a fantastic way to effectuate a paradigm shift in the legal profession, whatever that means. Granted, I only watched the video once. I can’t do it again, I won’t do it again, and you can’t make me.

Frankly, I think this young lady has it wrong. Laboratories, from my memories of them, are boring, overly sterile and filled with funky odors. That’s not an environment in which to change a profession. Let’s look at a few better options.

Law Amusement Park

Who doesn’t like an amusement park? Activities abound that pique the interests of almost any segment of the population. You can be turned and twisted. You can be turned upside down and caused to puke the undercooked turkey leg you consumed 20 minutes ago. Opportunities abound to scream “Wheeeeee!”, even at inappropriate times. Especially at inappropriate times.

At the end of the day, you are exhausted, grimy, and need to take a dump. Why, that’s just like the practice of law.

Law Bistro

Every restaurant wants to be a bistro. Why? They want to appeal to uppity clientele with deep pockets and a hankering for rich, creamy hollandaise sauce poured over everything. If you know what I mean.

Nowadays, many restaurants want to bring a bistro feel to the masses, just like some of of these legal rebels. What they fail to realize is that a Whopper is a Whopper, whether you call the joint Burger King or Burger Bistro. Changing the decor and name does not change the food.

Many in the practice of law attempt this same business model.

Law Carnival

Like a Law Amusement Park, but with freaks. Lotsa freaks. Just like the law! Have you ever attended municipal court in a large metro area? If you have, you know what I’m talking about. Remember what I said about ending an amusement park day feeling exhausted and grimy? In municipal court, you feel that way by 9AM.

Law Strip Club

Everyone enters expecting to leave a winner. In the end, the vast majority leave feeling nothing but hot and bothered. Then there’s coming up with an excuse for being covered in glitter makeup, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Law Supermarket

Walmart brought cheap stuff at a cheap price to the masses, all while employing cheap labor. Isn’t that what most of these “bringing affordable legal services to the masses” are seeking to do? They just think they’re above genuflecting to a portrait of Sam Walton every morning prior to leaving for work.

Law Outlet Mall

Those jeans seem like a great deal. That is, until that faulty seam in the back splits and you show your ass to the entire world.  But, hey, it was a great deal, and the savings were incredible!

I hear it from potential clients again and again, as they come to similar revelations about their prior legal representation.

Law Whorehouse

Now we’re getting somewhere. Consider the similarities to a courthouse:

–Some people are getting screwed.

–Other people are doing the screwing.

–Some people end their visit feeling satisfied.

–Others end their visit in pain.

–Some leave with diseases. Most are incurable.

–Some people never leave, having been buried in the basement and forgotten.

–Most people working there are selling services. And we all know that services is services.

–Those who are not selling services work in a losing effort to sanitize walls and floors.

Because that’s the law, and it sure as hell ain’t no laboratory. That’s where change, if it is to be made, happens–not in some sterile laboratory, but in the real world, with real lawyers, doing real stuff for real clients. Ugly, unseemly, and undignified, though it often is.

How will the USDB handle Chelsea?

What do you do if you are the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, the place where Bradley Manning will, presumably, be incarcerated. Via Today.

Bradley Manning, the Army private sentenced to military prison for leaking classified documents, revealed he intends to live out the remainder of his life as a woman.

“I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” the Army private wrote in a statementread on TODAY Thursday. “Given the way that I feel, and have felt since childhood, I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible. I hope that you will support me in this transition.”

Manning, 25, was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Wednesday after having been found guilty of 20 charges ranging from espionage to theft for leaking more than 700,000 documents to the WikiLeaks website while working in Iraq in 2010.

“I also request that, starting today, you refer to me by my new name and use the feminine pronoun (except in official mail to the confinement facility),” he continued in the statement. “I look forward to receiving letters from supporters and having the opportunity to write back.”

Manning signed the letter “Chelsea E. Manning.”

I’ve never researched the policies of the USDB in handling those with male genitalia who claim to be female or requests for elective medical procedures. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Thoughts from Dulles

10 random thoughts while waiting for my delayed flight at Dulles International Airport.

–Men exiting airport VIP lounges always walk as though they just received a blowjob. (If you don’t know what I mean, you didn’t pay enough attention during college parties.)

–Hearings that are not subject to rules of evidence (or weak ones) are disconcerting when you’ve grown accustomed to hearings governed by established rules of evidence.

–The Navy Yard in Washington, DC has a fantastic museum. The kids will be entertained, and you will be educated. If you’re in town, make sure you set aside a few hours to visit the museum and surrounding area.

Uber car service is fantastic.

–The more you prepare to successfully navigate airport security, the greater the chance of you being stuck behind the one family that doesn’t seem to understand airport security.

–How much do plastic surgeons pay to be part of of the “Best Plastic Surgeons in America” page in airline magazines?

–If you are really desperate for entertainment, walk by one of those quickie airport back/shoulder massage places while they are serving a morbidly obese customer. Works every time.

–It appears to be an unwritten rule that every flight is required to have a henpecked husband aboard. The easiest way to spot one is to watch for the guy led mercilessly to Au Bon Pain by their wife. All the while, he is looking longingly at the unregulated BBQ joint across the concourse.

–Families and small groups regularly recreate the bro walk at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs in a successful attempt to occupy as much concourse as possible.

–Time to get a membership to one of those VIP lounges.

Courts-Martial: Serious Business

Courts-martial are serious business. For that reason, you are not allowed to laugh about anything contained in the following excerpt from the Washington Post.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — It was an illicit and volatile love affair that spanned two war zones and four countries. The married general couldn’t stay away from a captain on his staff. She fell hard for her boss and called him “Poppa Panda Sexy Pants.” The three-year entanglement ended disastrously for both, at a time that could not be worse for the Army.

All the raw and sordid details are spilling out in an austere military courthouse here, where the Army is girding — for only the third time in half a century — to court-martial one of its generals.


Military-Only Crime of the Day

The last few weeks here have been decidedly unfunny (except in morbid ways). In order to be a bit trivial, I’ll share something that is only a crime in the military–just for you to think about.

Article 84–Effecting unlawful enlistment, appointment, or separation.

Any person subject to this chapter who effects an enlistment or appointment in or a separation from the armed forces of any person who is known to him to be ineligible for that enlistment, appointment, or separation because it is prohibited by law, regulation, or order, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Maximum punishment: Up to 5 years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge.

Minimum punishment: No punishment. (For those of you who’ve read this blog for a bit, you know I have a problem with news agencies that only tout the max punishment).

Compare the max for this crime with a few random others.

Disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer: 1 year, Bad-Conduct Discharge

Note: A Dishonorable Discharge is the worst you can receive. A Bad-Conduct Discharge is a bit better, but you still lose most useful benefits.

Cruelty and Maltreatment: 1 year, dishonorable discharge.

Unlawful Detention: 3 years, dishonorable discharge.

Wrongful use of cocaine: 5 years, dishonorable discharge.

Larceny of private property under $500 value: 1 year, bad-conduct discharge

Larceny of a privately owned vehicle: 5 years, dishonorable discharge.

Simple arson of a value over $500: 5 years, dishonorable discharge.

Assault consummated by a battery upon a child under 16 years: 2 years, dishonorable discharge.

Housebreaking. 5 years, dishonorable discharge.

Negligent homicide. 3 years, dishonorable discharge.

The Case That Knows No Bounds

Things just got real between the military judge and defense counsel in the Hasan case. Via CNN:

“This is nothing more than their disagreement with Major Hasan’s strategy in conducting his defense,” said the judge, Col. Tara Osborn, rejecting a motion by the standby counsel who are tasked with assisting Hasan as he represents himself.

The attorneys argued Wednesday that Hasan is trying to help the prosecution achieve a death sentence.

Osborn’s decision sparked a bitter fight in a trial focused on charges that Hasan shot and killed 13 people and wounded 32 in the November 2009 rampage at the Army installation near Killeen, Texas.

“We believe your order is causing us to violate our professional ethics. It’s morally repugnant to us as defense counsel,” said Lt. Col. Kris Poppe, head of Hasan’s legal team.

It’s all fun and games until someone says the judge’s order is morally repugnant.