Friday, June 12, 2009

Why judges like lawyers

Judges seem happier when the parties have lawyers. This seems odd, at first, because it appears that the lawyers make extra work for the judges. In court on Monday, the lawyers wasted a lot of time making silly arguments. The judge even ridiculed the wasteful legal bills that they were causing. It appeared that the cases would get resolved more easily without the lawyers

But at one point a lawyer was convenient to the judge. The wife's lawyer was demanding a chunk of the husband's $691k loan. Judge Salazar implied that he had enough testimony to make a decision, but he scheduled a trial in September.

The problem was that the judge thought that the wife should be protected against the possibility that the husband might acquire a gambling habit and waste all the money before the trial. That is where the lawyer was useful to the judge. The husband's lawyer agreed to put 40% of the money in a trust fund until the trial. That is a very easy thing for the lawyer to do.

I don't know what the judge would have done if there were no lawyers on the case. Without lawyers, it would not be so easy to order the money put in a trust account, because the court would not want to be bothered to check whether or not the money was really put there, and whether the account access was set up properly. As it was, the judge could act as if he was being very fair and just, and he doesn't have to actually decide or do anything.

Of course the trust fund was not really necessary, so maybe this is not such a good example. But it does illustrate how a judge can be happier when lawyers are involved.

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