How You do it Back Home
August 30, 2016 § 1 Comment
Back in the early 70’s (that’s 1970’s, BTW), when I lived and worked in the Atlanta Metro area, I traded at a service station (that was before self-service) that had its own service and repair garage. It was off I-75, a favorite route for the millions of snowbirds on their way to Florida from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and points north. Over the service area was a prominent sign that read, “WE DON’T CARE HOW YOU DO IT UP NORTH.”
That comes to mind from time to time when a lawyer, usually from a larger metropolitan area to our west, encounters our way of doing business here and whines, “But that’s not how we do it in ____________ (fill in the blank for your favorite whining locale).”
The insinuation is either:
“We do it right back home, and you don’t do it the same, so you are wrong,” or
“I hate to have to adapt to your stupidity.”
Well, as much as you are loathe to have to adapt to our
stupidity way of doing things, the deal is that we simply follow the rules and statutes as best we understand them. If you do that, too, you will find that your business will glide smoothly through our courts with nary a snag or delay. Don’t follow the rules and statutes and you will be hung up until you do.
And as for how you claim that you do it back home, I’m sorry, but some of the things that lawyers tell me about how they do business back in the Promised Land seems to have a soupçon of, shall we say, bovine effluvium. In my many years’ experience as a lawyer in various chancery districts around the state, I never encountered a chancellor who didn’t expect everything to be just right. So I refuse to believe we sitting chancellors have lowered our standards as far as some would have me believe.
I got so exasperated a couple of years ago with a lawyer who insisted that I include two pages of language vesting title in various individuals and removing clouds from title in a muniment of title judgment because “that’s what my chancellors do,” that I suggested he file his pleadings in one of those mythical districts where the chancellors don’t follow the law. This of course, he could not legally do because the property was in my district. My thinking was that if the chancellors there are so lax, jurisdiction should not matter. (Footnote: I won the argument)
We’re not unique in this district with our ways. When I practiced in chancery districts across the state, I found a wide range of customs and practices, but the common thread was that the chancellor in each district was doing his or her dead-level best to ensure that it was done right.
As you gad about the state in your legal perambulations, keep in mind that every chancellor has his or her own take on what the law requires, but each and every one of us is zealous to see that business in our courts is handled correctly and according to the rules and the law. Believe it or not.
“But that’s not how we do it in ____________” is a phrase that should never come across the lips of a lawyer. It makes me instantly cringe knowing that a benchslap is deserved even if graciously withheld.