Fluff over substance

I made two Facebook posts today.

One was a typical nothing burger witticism about how Martindale-Hubbell wants to sell me an expensive plaque commemorating my 25 years of law practice without getting disbarred or indicted, and how I have no need for expensive knick-knacks that mean nothing to anybody with 3/4 of a clue. I mean seriously, any jackass can buy these spiffy looking plaques to flll office wall space, the only real qualification is the ability to pay the outrageous fee.

The other was link to an appellate decision that came down yesterday in one of my cases. I won, and the issue has some precedential value. This isn’t Miranda v Arizona or Brown v Board by any stretch of imagination, but it is a reasonably important case in my state, and one that will likely be cited fairly frequently in the future.

Wanna guess at the response to each post? Yeah…just what you figured. The nothing burger funny post is killing it. Already has multiple times the number of responses/likes/replies than the post that actually matters.

We live in a world where happy joyful but otherwise worthless crap forces aside legitimate, serious issues of substantive import. And people wonder why I’m semi-seriously hoping for the giant asteroid to come finish the job and wipe out life on this planet.


Now stay off my damn lawn and turn down that shaky-booty music.

I hear you, I really do.

All I’ll say in defense of those who didn’t post in response to (or like) your post about a decision that really matters is that those who aren’t lawyers aren’t able to understand what a big thing it was, especially if it’s in a non-glamorous area of law.

It’s like a mathematician posting “I solved the Hunt-Crabbe Postulate Theorem!” Everyone but a few mathematicians is thinking “well, that’s nice, I guess,” and then liking the post post with the cute puppies.

He taught puppies to do math! Cool, man!

OK, I am not a lawyer, so I am going to ask a question about appeals court and supreme court rulings that probably real lawyers with ¾ of a clue already know all about.

When a court decides a case that sets a precedent, which apparently the OP is referring to, who is most responsible? The lawyer or the judge(s)?

The lawyer wins the case-great for the people paying the bill. I understand that. But I hear about the nx100 page decisions that will be studied for years. Wasn’t that written by the judge (I assume the work was done by a bunch of law clerks in the back room but the judge is in charge)? Does the judge’s ruling take the important parts of the lawyer’s argument and “what he/she said”? Or does the judge say to himself well that fancy lawyer convinced me to rule in his favor. Now lets come up with this great analysis that will set precedent for generations? That is, how much original analysis is in a court ruling? Or is it just what the lawyers wrote to win the case?

Note I am thinking about appeals court and supreme courts as I understand that a district court can’t set precedent. But if I am wrong, throw those folks into the mix as well.

It’s a mixture. My rule of thumb is that you don’t get a major precedent without a good lawyer arguing the case (Disclosure: I’ve had a few cases that resulted in significant precedents. :). ) But, you won’t get a major precedent without a good judge.

That’s because a lawyer has to marshal compelling arguments to get the court to change course, and give a new or significant decision. Still takes a judge who is receptive to the argument and willing to write the decision, but the judge normally has to be persuaded to go that way. The final decision in a major case normally cites the argument and cases that the lawyer has cited.

Law is a creative process, both for the lawyer and the judge.

I think it might just be that you’re writing on the wrong medium. Something like the latest development in state case law doesn’t have the same social/entertainment value as a rant, and I think a lot of people go to Facebook for social/entertainment value.

There are also less people interested in law than there are people interested in standing around and complaining (for lack of a better term) about random stupid stuff.

I disagree that fluff pushes out grave matters. There’s a whole world of people who are passionate about geopolitical issues, some of them are on this very board, only two clicks away.


Seems compelling. :slight_smile:

That’s a valid point, except that my facebook friends are largely lawyers, actors, and other scoundrels likely to need lawyers and/or actors. :smiley:

Who might be unwinding on Facebook at the end of the day to get a break from cases and statutes and precedents, and just chill out with dad jokes and kitteh pix? I know when I get home, work is the last thing I’m thinking about.

There’s also the increasingly weird Facebook algorithms that, as far as I can tell, reinforce your personal bubble. I don’t see everything posted by all my friends; my feed mostly has posts by people whose posts I clicked “like” on in the past, and primarily about topics I expressed some interest in recently.

In other words, if Fred and Wilma both post something about kittens and I’ve liked something Wilma posted yesterday, it’s likely that her post appears on my timeline but not Fred’s … which decreases my likelihood of ever liking a Fred post, until eventually I don’t see a damn thing from him again.

Replying to the cute post requires little thought and investment. Reply in a way that engages with the legal question and you could find yourself involved in a lengthy discussion - so unless you really feel strongly about it, and are willing to put a lot of thought into your reply (so you don’t get nitpicked to death), it’s sensible to avoid engaging at all.

I used to get offers to be in a book of the greatest dentists in America. I can’t recall how much I would have had to pay to be in the book. Haven’t had one of those offers in years, I guess I’m not as good as I used to be.

It was the punchline for one of the greatest pieces of TV of all time - A Small Talent for War, on The New Twilight Zone.

Congrats from a non-lawyer on your significant win, but these kinds of things have to be like wetting your pants in a dark suit. It gives you a warm feeling, but nobody notices.


Well, there’s your first mistake. Didn’t your due diligence examination of the evidence give you just a clue as to what would probably happen?