Attorney-at-Law

DAWSON.SUPPORT

In Uncategorized on 01/28/2021 at 12:22

I thought it a good idea to put my suggestions for DAWSON in one document and share it with the Genius Baristas, while they deal with getting the litigants onstream. So here is the text of my e-mail to DAWSON.support, dated 1/28/21, timed at 10:48 a.m.

When you’re done making DAWSON easier for litigants (which I’ve admitted on my blog is your first priority), how about making it easier for us journalists? First, have the Dockets show appearances. For self-representeds, so state. Where individual attorneys appear for petitioners, state address for solos, and state firm affiliation (and firm address) where applicable. I’ll renew my request to the Chief Judge to amend the Rules to allow for firm appearances, as that’s outside your jurisdiction.

Second, list all orders and opinions by date. Make them word-searchable. Now one needs a docket number or a name to find them, and we may not have either. The old system worked perfectly. When you rolled out DAWSON, you destroyed ten years’ worth of my links in my blogposts. Why?

Third, bring back designated orders. Judges can designate or not as they see fit, and I’d never have the temerity to suggest that that should change. But the present count-the-pages system is a joke, when you post 400+ orders per day for us to wade through while on deadline. Besides, count-the-pages is ridiculous; the worst novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (he of the worst opening sentence competition) has more pages than the Four Gospels. Which is more important? (No prize for the correct answer).

Fourth, why are opinions not posted until 3 p.m. Eastern Time? If judges, or their proofreaders (if any), need more time to re-read and correct their opinions, hold them over until the next morning, and post them at noon, ET. My deadline is effectively 6 p.m. ET; my blog has been read in more than 150 countries, commonwealths, and semi-autonomous regions. I’m writing for the busy practitioner, who hasn’t time to read lengthy law review articles, and whose first language may well not be English, or even Indo-European-based. Hence, my blogposts average fewer than 500 words each, and I must write simply. I may need several hours to unpack, digest, and put in readable form multiple opinions and orders. Some important opinions are more than a hundred pages long, where every detail may be significant to a reader.  Even if I can get it all done in the three hours you’ve given me, at 6 p.m. ET, it’s already midnight in Europe. And in the Far East, it’s already the next morning. So after 6 p.m. ET, I’ve lost that day.

Fifth, the texts of orders and opinions must be drag-and-dropable. This serves the journalist on deadline, who hasn’t time to retype and proofread, or run through some deskewing software and proofread,  whole paragraphs of text, and also the solo or small-firm practitioner, who hasn’t the personnel to retype or deskew, and proofread, the language s/he needs for a memo of law or opinion letter. I’ve done briefs on appeal in under an hour, when I could drag-and-drop the language I needed, without wasting time to type, cite-and-substance-check. Every lawyer has memo of law files, arranged by subject, with the language of the leading cases in wordprocessing format, ready to insert when wanted; and the up-to-date practitioner keeps adding to the files. That saves the practitioner time, and the client money. And makes pro bono work more affordable to the practitioner, and thus more available to the needy.

 

Best regards.

Lewis C. Taishoff, Esq.

 

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