While I am sure that my editors are relieved that I haven’t written about a certain infamous California lawyer (aka He Who Shall Not Be Named) for a while, I do have to add a P.S. to my column last week about Florida’s governor and his quixotic war against Disney (aka the Mouse House). I just learned — and I’ll stipulate that I am way behind the times on this one — that Ron DeSantis was married at Disney World in 2009. Everyone else knew apparently, but I didn’t. Shame on me. Too bad that the marriage license was issued by the state and not Disney’s special district. I could see Mickey’s gloved hands rubbing in glee.
I plead guilty as I am as cliché driven as anyone else, but is anyone else fed up with our cliché-driven world? Just some examples that trigger my bruxism (Google it). How many times can anyone “unpack” something other than groceries, suitcases full of clothing, briefcases, cartons of books, and so on? I hate that usage. Who started using that verb in that context?
But that’s not the only one. To paraphrase comedian Jimmy Durante, “we’ve got a million of them.” And so we do. My new favorite one, which is a lethal combination both of flattery and condescension: “That’s a great question.” Really? How patronizing.
We know that February bar results are usually lower than July results. The California results were disappointing, although in line with meh results from other states showing a decline. Kim Kardashian might want to rethink her decision to sit for the February 2025 bar, instead of waiting for the July bar that year.
While AI seeks to grasp an ever-strengthening toehold in our profession (think legal research, drafting discovery, writing briefs, and the like), it has not yet cornered the market on jury consultants, but that is only a matter of time. AI can potentially vet a prospective panel faster than someone can say “voir dire.”
Will AI replace witnesses? Counsel? The court? Lawyers are already confronting the hulking AI behemoth in different ways.
And how do you bill for AI time? If AI could do in a heartbeat what it takes hours for a mere mortal, this may be one more slow torturous death drip (notice how I didn’t use the cliché ridden “nail in the coffin”) for the billable hour. It may prompt the move from billable hours to task pricing.
One of the issues in the writers’ strike (and for those readers who practice east of the Sierra (singular, not plural, thank you) and west of the Hudson (also singular), the strike is most likely a big yawn until your favorite shows are in endless reruns (dinosaurs, remember those?) or off the air altogether, e.g., late night. Why should we care? One issue in the strike is … wait for it … AI and how it may well reshape the industry.
More layoffs seem to be coming. How will the presence of AI affect layoffs? What do you think? It looks like the appetite for Biglaw jobs may be on the decline. Work-life balance may not be just a cliché to Gen Z lawyers. Only 23% of Gen Z lawyers aspire to partnership in a law firm.
Just like every other lawyer, I love a good benchslap, as long as it’s not directed at me. Schadenfreude has its place. Shame on these lawyers who didn’t have the decency to grant an extension of time without onerous conditions to a lawyer whose wife unexpectedly went into labor and delivered their child during the pendency of several cases. He had to go to the trouble of filing a motion to ask the court to extend certain deadlines. The three defense lawyers apparently don’t know the first thing about courtesy and civility but do know how to force opposing counsel to ask the court to extend the courtesy that counsel would not.
What galls me even more is that two of the three defense counsel are women. When I entered this profession almost 50 years ago (not a typo), I thought that the presence of more women lawyers would make the profession a little more humane, a little more empathetic, but I was wrong. I hate being wrong about something like this.
I don’t care what excuses defense counsel can offer. What is our profession coming to? Yes, women lawyers can be and should be just as tough as the male lawyers, but where’s the humanity? Tough-mindedness does not equate with being a (fill in the blank — several unflattering Yiddish words would fit.) How low have we sunk? I already know the answer.
What one court grants, another denies. The Ohio Supreme Court denied a trial continuance to a pregnant lawyer on bed rest. Of course, the male majority would think that way, but one justice, a woman, dissented. Where is the humanity? Is this a rhetorical question?
And for those (along with my editors) who think that this column is a “hot mess,” there should be limits on that phrase’s usage. I didn’t see it on the list of clichés, at least not yet. Is that term code for “hysterical?” “Shrill?” And by the way, what is the male counterpart for “hysterical”? “Shrill”? “Spermatorrhoeic”? You tell me.
Jill Switzer has been an active member of the State Bar of California for over 40 years. She remembers practicing law in a kinder, gentler time. She’s had a diverse legal career, including stints as a deputy district attorney, a solo practice, and several senior in-house gigs. She now mediates full-time, which gives her the opportunity to see dinosaurs, millennials, and those in-between interact — it’s not always civil. You can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.