“Our adversarial legal system is based on the idea that we disagree on everything.” A follow-up study, based on investigations conducted by seven tribunals that avoided significant delays, describes five elements for an effective case management system. These elements include: judicial leadership and clearly defined roles for judges and administrative staff, which researchers say is essential for timely processing; the timely appointment of legal counsel and the exchange of advance information to help avoid delays; predictable and productive time in the courtroom; effective communication and collaboration; and objectives and information management, which enable tribunals to meet established standards and measure their performance. Defense lawyers in criminal cases continue to slow things down. Repeated requests for postponement and extension may mean longer pre-trial detention for their clients, but they also reduce the likelihood of a possible conviction, as witnesses` memories become blurred and overworked prosecutors are more willing to plead. I suspect that one of the reasons our justice system is so bogged down is all the unnecessary like drug offences. The worst part is that even if you are accused of a crime, you are often locked up in prison. In a system that claims to be “innocent until proven guilty,” that makes no sense to me. If you are poor and truly innocent, it is difficult to prove it, let alone provide a deposit. Qualified immunity is a slightly narrower leniency given to people like the police, who say, “Listen, if you couldn`t understand the law, if reasonable minds might disagree, if the law is not clear, then if you commit wrongdoing, we`ll give you the benefit of the doubt and let you go.” The problem with this apology is, and I can say this as a lawyer, nothing in the law is clear, not all reasonable minds agree. In fact, our adversarial legal system is based on the idea that we disagree on everything.
In the words of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, this essentially allows officers to shoot first and ask questions later. And it`s not great either. The second thing is that since the courts get bogged down as regulations multiply and become more complex, it actually favors larger companies because only they can afford compliance teams and legal services and $2,000 an hour that New York law firms charge. By the way, this is not an exaggeration. I just received a bill with an item for $2,000 per hour. This favors the sides, so you end up with this strange cycle of self-defeat with the law. Whenever he tries to improve himself, supposedly for the benefit of the public, he accidentally shoots a few members of the audience in his attempt at good deeds. Knowledge@Wharton: One of the chapters deals with policing.
How have some of these failures in the legal system affected this? Chicago-based defense attorney Adam Sheppard said he expected “a flood of speedy trials” throughout the system. Brian Ostrom, researcher of the ECCM study, argues that a case management system is essential to reduce the number of follow-ups and hearings. There are many reasons for this frantic pace, but perhaps the most important factor is money, especially in government systems. The recession of 2001 and the largest in 2008 led to hiring freezes and budget cuts across the country, with large states like California, Texas and Florida – and their equally important criminal justice systems – particularly affected. In Hawaii, the entire state judicial system is funded to the tune of less than 2.5% of the state budget. In Louisiana, it was only 0.5% in 2011. Knowledge@Wharton: You say in the book that there are cases where our justice system does not have the evidence under control in the cases. What effect does that have? Slow? Please come to South America and tell us about a slow judicial system. “The police have been placed in a very difficult system by a legislature that meets the demands of the election season.” Gibney: Yes, the dishes are very slow.
Litigation has become so incredibly costly that it has done two things. First, it led companies to resort to arbitration, not only as a cynical ploy to get by, but because the court system wasn`t really working well. This was perceived as anti-consumer, which is ultimately the case. But companies thought they had no choice. It`s no secret that the U.S. justice system is evolving at the speed of a tectonic plate. Defendants who cannot afford bail languish in jail for years before being brought to justice. Civil cases in federal courts take an average of nearly two years to reach a resolution from the time of first filing, according to a 2010 government study, with the court in Washington, D.C., topping the list with an average of 40.7 months.
The average duration of a patent file is 2.4 years. Class action lawsuits like the Exxon Valdez oil spill case can last for decades. The BS answer you get everywhere is “do well” everything. The fact is that prosecutors and police don`t care, their job is to get convictions, which is why the prosecutor`s office is to make deals, whether you are guilty or not, that the defense will also lobby for the deal. No one wants to go to court because it is a long process and the system is blocking much more. There are as many good law schools today as there were 35 years ago. To the extent that the main inputs for legal services are the people who provide services, this means that legal prices will rise. It is unnecessary and distorting, and no one has done anything about it. Just as no one has done anything to find a better way to bill customers than the billable hour introduced in the 1950s. We need to innovate again. But we didn`t. The law is a cartel, which is strange because you have members of a cartel that regulates the Federal Trade Anti-Cartel Commission.
But that`s one of the strange little ironies of the law. The law must therefore take all these things seriously and think about how it wants to achieve what the common good requires. Gibney: Every businessman is essentially an optimist, right? You go out thinking you can make a profit. I will be optimistic that they can be corrected when the legal system is reformed. I simply do not believe that the legal system, in its current form, is capable of doing everything we want. I do not think that makes the rules that reasonable. I do not think it can establish stable rules. I do not think the different parts of the legal system understand each other.
I think one of the things that`s most underrated in the legal system is that each part of the legal assembly chain really has no idea what the other is doing, or understand what the end product is supposed to be. The police have been placed in a very difficult system by a legislature that meets the demands of the election season. “Hey, we need to crack down on crime. Pass a law on the subject you are addressing. Then we`re all stuck with the results, and the police can apply that to us as citizens, because ignorance of the law is no excuse. And that`s a challenge. All I know is that every time I`m a juror, it`s like slow motion. The same goes for hospital emergencies. The gap between reality and the representation of these two situations on television is enormous. But some things move super fast in emergency rooms. Most of the they deal with, yes, is super slow, careful, and planned. If you`ve ever seen an arrest work, you know comes pretty quickly.
“Each part of the legal assembly line really has no idea what the other is doing, nor does it understand what the final product is supposed to be. Knowledge@Wharton: Can you talk about your chapter on bureaucracy and the role of politics in the legal system? Courts that process cases more quickly often do so because they avoid significant delays, have control over planning and use an effective case management system, the researchers noted. The writer Raymond Chandler once said, “Law is not justice. It is a very imperfect mechanism. If you press exactly the right buttons and are also lucky, justice can be seen in the response. A new book by Bruce Cannon Gibney, a litigator turned venture capitalist, lends credence to the idea. The Nonsense Factory: The Making and Breaking of the American Legal System examines how jurisprudence has declined over the past 70 years, with laws becoming unnecessarily complex, obfuscated by politics, and influenced by money. Gibney, an early investor in PayPal and other tech companies, also wrote a book critical of baby boomers, A Generation of Sociopaths. He spoke to SiriusXM radio show about Knowledge@Wharton about the dysfunctional U.S. legal system and how it hurts businesses, consumers and the “average Joe.” (Listen to the podcast at the top of this page.) Knowledge@Wharton: Based on your experience as a venture capitalist, how has this failure of the legal system affected tech companies? Thanks to Washington`s ongoing stalemate, Antonin Scalia`s seat on the Supreme Court is not the only one waiting for a replacement.