Karl H. Timmerman M.A.J.D. © 2002
All Rights Reserved
A MISSOURI LAWYER'S
FRIDAY NIGHT RAMBLINGS
MoBar Solo and Small Firm Internet Group
JULY 11, 2003
Greets and Huggers. Posted the evening of July 11, 2003. Been thinking about what it will take to make a change: a Supreme Court Civil Rule that you are entitled, as a matter of law and as a Solo and Small Firm guy to take a vacation: take some time off with your family. At the very minimum, three weeks, all at once or in chunks. You file an affidavit of "engaged/vacationing" counsel 90 days in advance, (cannot include dates that have already set cases) ... with the court and opposing counsel. Didn't think something as basic a courtesy between counsel as this, would even be necessary, but after listening to the horror stories at the Lodge: it saddens me, but it is. My dear, dear friend Pat Reynolds is against such a rule because she believes it might limit the amount of time you can take off. She is of the opinion that each attorney who wishes to take time off, should make arrangements to have another attorney stand in. I respectfully dissent. Right now we have no rule. We have solo's who are afraid to take time off and when they do, worry about who is covering their client's interests. Great vacation! Three weeks is a starting point: an attempt to codify simple courtesy. There are many solo guys who do not have another attorney who can stand in. Unlike other self employed folks, we can't just close the shop without putting our clients at risk. We have to take time off to keep our personal life intact, preserve our sanity and encourage puppy sharks to join our ranks as solo's. If you are in favor of such a rule, voice your opinion, (you would be surprised .... hehehe ..... who reads this list :) Together, we can make it happen.
I know, I know .... I'm stupid. There are only two things that make my rear end suck air ...... a registered letter from the IRS ...... and a registered letter from the OCDC. Don't know why. Instant fear, instant doubt. What did I miss, what did I do wrong? With the IRS .... I know I have "due process" ..... with the OCDC ...... <shuddering> .... I don't know what I have, in terms of rights. Don't even want them to know my name. Want to remain a number. Have represented friends who had a complaint filed .... after meeting in person with OCDC folks, individually, they seem like nice people ... but they have so much "discretion". Found out this week ... they will not tell you if there has been a complaint filed against you, (unless they decide to pursue it?) ..... found out this week that they use the complaints that they have not told you about to decide if they should "investigate" you. Knew there was no statute of limitations for complaints, (every other profession has them .... we don't ..... so a mistake you made twenty years ago ... could get you disbarred today). Did you know OCDC has the power to issue a Supreme Court Subpoena to compel you to appear in their offices in Jefferson City with all your records ..... for a deposition? ... All without telling you why? No doubt we need to police our profession, disbar crooked lawyers and help lawyers that are having problems. But where is the line between "dishonest", "incompetent" and "honest mistake"? No doubt we need to stop the unauthorized practice of law, (BTW: Judge Dandurand found that DCSE techs are practicing law without a license .... was there ever an investigation of that JUDICIAL FINDING OF FACT?) I'm curious ... where is the line between the Bar and our Supreme Court: what is the relationship between our Supremo's and our Bar? You and I, as Solo and Small Firm Lawyers pay our dues and our Bar President, Dale D, (really cool guy), shared with us at the "Family Reunion" that we comprise 70% of the practicing Lawyers in Missouri. Guess that means you and I are funding 70% of our Bar. We, (the 737 members of the Solo and Small Firm Committee), are the soul of the Bar .... maybe its time to do some "soul searching".
We need a statute of limitations for Bar Complaints. Period. I/we should not live in fear of mistakes I/we made 20 years ago as puppy sharks. Also, I want to know if a bar complaint has been filed against me. In 2001, 1,506 complaints were filed with the OCDC, 708 files were opened for investigation, (hate letters sent out?) and 798 were ignored. Sorry, assuming 200 working days in a year, the cost of 4 extra postage stamps, envelopes, a copy of the complaint, per day .... and a "No Response Necessary" rubber stamp is insignificant. Aside from the fact that not sharing notice, of the filing of a complaint, may be actionable under the 14th Amendment, (isn't "notice" the corner stone of "Due Process"?), not to mention any common notion of fair play and justice, it is the right thing for the "enforcement wing" of our Supreme Court to do. I might add, if any lawyer reading this believes he/she has not committed malpractice or made a mistake at some point in their career .... they are a fool, (but rest easy ... the statute of limitations for legal malpractice is 5 years ..... interesting ..... for Doctors, it's 2 years) .... there should be a 5 year statute of limitations for Bar Complaints. You and I will get this procedure changed.
Sadam is gone: we all agree that is a good thing. Honorable persons can disagree about our involvement in getting him gone. Still no weapons of mass destruction. Watched the evening news earlier ... another American life lost in Iraq. Firefights still waging in Afghanistan. The lives of our family, friends, neighbors ..... lost, one or two at a time. Is this the price of "security"? To accomplish what? Peace? Where is the much touted United Nations? Are we, my America, the only nation that maintains a standing army? Where are all the folks who want to rebuild Iraq, (for a price)? The Germans, Canadians, Mexicans, Russians? Where are the French? (gag! ... no doubt sipping wine, eating the legs off of some hapless frog and talking about how important the French Language is in World Affairs ..... with French Canadians, (French wannabe's) sitting in the hallway nodding their heads). Maybe, as much as it offends my world view, my sense of America's purpose, it is time to cut bait. Bring our troops home: let the World's cretins kill each other off. Why should we care? Use the troops to seal our borders. Course, that would not stop another 9/11 and where would we get our oil? Where would we get our Perrier? Unlike our Founding Fathers, we now find ourselves dependent on a global trading community. Volvo is owned by Ford ...... so is Jaguar. Mercedes owns Chrysler. And the most abundant and cheapest labor remains in China ... and guess what? .. that Government has no problem ... selling the body parts of it's citizens. Wish I had an answer ....... but I don't. Do know this: Truth and justice will always triumph .... Truth may cost George W the next election. 'Nuff said.
Had a wonderful Friday afternoon working in the garden, (the tomatoes and cucumbers are ripening .... the apple trees are full of fruit and so are the grape vines). I have a full snifter of BBB over crushed ice and I'm sitting here editing the Ramblings. Took a break and found a webpage http://sep11.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tributes_to_individuals, brief notes about some of the victims of 9/11. Sat here reading and wept. Such a waste. I am torn between the lives that were lost and the lives that will be lost to make sure it will not happen again. The flowers we sent to Brian and Dana Sleeth were delivered this morning: by now, they should be home, no doubt worrying that they will screw up raising Hayden Pierce Sleeth, (the youngest and newest member of our "Family"). I'm tempted to share with them, that, even though he didn't come with an owner's manual, he and they will be fine. God doesn't do schlock work!! :) Susan and I are on our "summer schedule" ... the office is closed on Fridays: we spend Friday morning reviewing, updating and talking about files and send out bills. We take Friday afternoon off. By the Grace of God, I have the best business partner, (she works cheap!! ... hehehe ... and can't sue me for sexual harassment!) and life partner a man can have. She is also the most beautiful woman I know ..... <smiling> ....... and I fully intend to curl up next to her later ..... and as I drift off to sleep ..... say a prayer for Hayden Pierce Sleeth, (and his Mom and Dad), our men and women in uniform ...... and you. Be and sleep well: we are well and safe because the best there is, is on watch to make sure we are.
If my post offends, I apologize ...... that is not my intent.
Karl (the dumb ole country lawyer from Holden, Missouri).