A Few Comments on McGrew

January 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Following up on our post yesterday about McGrew v. McGrew, here are some comments:

  • First of all, let me say that none of my comments here pertain to the lawyers or judge in McGrew. I do not know enough about everything that transpired to comment on what was done or not done, and why. These comments are general.
  • As a general proposition, the longer you delay to get a final judgment entered, or to get that QDRO done, or to close that estate, the more problems will crop up. I have never understood, and still do not understand, lawyers who procrastinate in tending to their clients’ business. Do those lawyers have unlimited malpractice insurance, or are they somehow bulletproof? Get it done, get it entered, get it final, and move on. That’s what your clients are paying you for.
  •  If you think the particular lightning bolt of a litigant dying amidst your particular litigation is far-fetched, think again. Baby-boomers, who have inherited more wealth than any previous generation, are entering their 70’s and 80’s. So within the next 20 years, you can expect to see lots of litigation involving them (us), and mortality being what it is, odds are it will claim some of the parties in your cases in mid-lawsuit.
  • When the judge directs a lawyer to prepare a judgment or order, the responsibility is on that lawyer, not on the judge or opposing counsel. If the judge says “10 days,” do it in that time-span.
  • As I said yesterday, White was my case. Luther “Luke” White was my client. He was 71 when the divorce was filed, and Johnnie was 77. On record this was their fourth divorce from each other; however, at the conclusion of the trial a local attorney approached me and said that there had been yet another case some years before in which the chancellor ordered the couple to retire to a witness room and see whether they could settle the case. They emerged holding hands, he said, and went downstairs to the clerk’s office and dismissed the divorce. Shannon Clark was the chancellor in my case. When he rendered his bench opinion for the small audience gathered in the courtroom, he began something like this: “In my years as a chancellor, and as a practicing attorney, I have seen many divorces. A good number have involved couples getting their second divorce from the same spouse as previously. And you might be surprised to know that a number of cases have involved couples getting their third divorce from each other. But never, in all my years as a chancellor or lawyer, have I ever seen the same couple get their fourth divorce from each other. Never.”

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