We don’t publish rumors

January 5, 2009
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Today's blog is from IL managing editor Betsy Brockett:

Day after day, we read stories in the National Law Journal and other legal publications about how the tumultuous economy has hit the legal profession again and again. Even close to home, judges and attorneys talk about how hard the Indiana legal community has been hit. Some trial court judges have had to fight budget cuts just to keep their courts running smoothly. Budgets and the bottom lines aren’t on the minds of just law firm management.

Yes, the Indiana legal community has been hit hard … or so we’ve heard, but we’re not in the business of publishing rumors.

In recent months a judge wondered why we haven’t been covering how hard the downturn has impacted our legal professionals. We’ve published stories about the sour economy and various sectors of the legal community for several issues now.

Recently, a lawyer called the office wanting to know the scoop about the layoffs in Indianapolis. Well, we hear the rumors, too. Some even merit investigation.

Associate positions cut. Summer associate programs cut or trimmed. Administrative/support staff reduced. Non-equity partners let go. We’ve heard it all. The problem: the people in positions to address the rumors have chosen to ignore the opportunity to set the record straight.

People wear their rose-colored glasses when they talk with us. No one will name names. Some firms claim any changes are just a result of regular housecleaning or an annual shakeup.

Yes, we understand it’s about public perception and local, state, regional, national reputation … and the bottom line. But IL’s job is to cover our local legal community, which also is our readership. There is a legitimate way and reason to report any such happenings – talk with us about such decisions, about the strength of your commitment to being responsible to your clients and partners.

Sure, times may be tough, but claiming all is rosy can sometimes be counterproductive as rumors grow and exacerbate any bad perceptions. Honest explanations can often stall the rumor mill, garner support … and maybe even help people.

How? Because if people share how they’re combating this economy’s negative effects, someone else may learn something that helps them or someone may be able to help with the problem.

If people – individuals or corporate clients – mistake a shoring up of expenses as something more serious like an impending implosion, the truth is much better than rampant rumors.

You want the news. We’re trying to deliver. And the truth doesn’t always hurt.
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  1. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  2. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

  3. Such is not uncommon on law school startups. Students and faculty should tap Bruce Green, city attorney of Lufkin, Texas. He led a group of studnets and faculty and sued the ABA as a law student. He knows the ropes, has advised other law school startups. Very astute and principled attorney of unpopular clients, at least in his past, before Lufkin tapped him to run their show.

  4. Not that having the appellate records on Odyssey won't be welcome or useful, but I would rather they first bring in the stray counties that aren't yet connected on the trial court level.

  5. Aristotle said 350 bc: "The most hated sort, and with the greatest reason, is usury, which makes a gain out of money itself, and not from the natural object of it. For money was intended to be used in exchange, but not to increase at interest. And this term interest, which means the birth of money from money, is applied to the breeding of money because the offspring resembles the parent. Wherefore of an modes of getting wealth this is the most unnatural.

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