Thoughts for the Third Week of March 2020 by Christopher Sullivan

Dear Reader: In light of current events, our usual guest contributor’s column is being replaced with a rare glimpse into the editorial process here at LT Weekly. Instead of a “well written” narrative reflecting on life, the law, sports, or family, as a special feature, we thought we’d invite you behind the scenes to see just how this week’s guest columnist feature comes together in real time. Come along as we go inside “Inside LT” if you will, and join our hardboiled LTW Editor meeting with this week’s Hapless Contributor for a pitch meeting now.

Let’s listen in:

LTW: A lot going on in the world, no question about it. What do you have in mind for this week’s feature?

HC:       Well, since this is a law firm and all, I thought I’d stick to the basics.  How’s this?

The End of the Billable Hour?

The demise of the billable hour has been predicted for 50 years, almost since the this most vexing system originated.  In that time, law firms have explored alternatives such as flat fees, “value billing”, and many other fee arrangements.  So what will the future of law firm billing bring?

LTW: Wait.  Didn’t you hear?  Walt Disney World is closed.

HC: You’re right.  Not going to happen.    That’s been predicted for 50 years and its still here. Maybe we should go back to the fundamentals.   Keep it black letter.

How does A equal B and B equal C in the law? With a bang!  The origins of today’s concept of proximate cause can be traced to a most unlikely series of events.  In Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad

LTW:   Disneyland is closed, too.

HC: Nah.  Kind of irrelevant now.  Maybe something more concrete, more topical.

Inland container vessels are coming to the Mississippi River.    Experts estimate that 90% of all goods that ultimately land in the hands of the end user, i.e., you and me, arrive by container ship.     Meanwhile, every year, approximately 630 million tons of cargo were transported by our nation’s inland waterways…

LTW:  Shipping from China is frozen.   Most travelers from Europe are barred from the U.S.    Flights are empty.

HC:  Right.  Kind of dull.  How about the movies?    Nothing brings people together like the movies!

In 1982, Hollywood’s A-list came together to create animated magic.    Featuring the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, and Angela Lansbury, along with an ace soundtrack by America, “The Last Unicorn” enchanted audiences worldwide….

LTW:  The CDC advises against gatherings of more than 10 people, and they should stay at least 6 feet apart. 

HC:  Good point.   Movie attendance is down.   I need to shift gears.  That’s it – shift gears!

Fewer than 2% all new vehicles sold in the United States in 2018 were equipped with a manual transmission.  But did you know that there is no greater weapon in the war against distracted driving than the good old stick shift?   

LTW:  Americans should stay at home as much as possible.   Parts of New York and California are on lock down.   Europe is closed.  

HC:  What better way to deal with stress than a little exercise!

Using my unique 10 Minute Express work out system, you can achieve amazing results in no time!    Imagine having the energy of an Olympic sprinter in as long as it takes to…

LTW:  The Olympics are close to being canceled.   The NBA and NHL seasons suspended indefinitely.   The world of sports is in limbo.

HC:  Sports! People love sports!

Pickleball, the wintertime craze sweeping the Northeastern suburban set, is coming to a court near you!

LTW:  Schools are closed for rest of the month and longer.

HC:  Maybe a hobby of some sort, something the whole family can enjoy…

Since 1979, “The WoodWright’s Shop” has been bringing old timey wood working into living rooms across America.  But did you know the host….

LTW:   For the love of Pete!  Chick-Fil-A shut down its dining rooms!   Bars and restaurants are closed!   

HC:  I’m with you.  So there’s plenty of time to catch up on all the great television being made these days…

Part man, part animal.  Its “Manimal!”   Many consider the 1980’s to be television drama’s golden age…

LTW:  Are you even listening?

HC:  Right. Focus.  Stay on topic.  Keep it lawyerly.  Erudite.

The infamous solicitor Mr. Tulkington lurking in the pages of “Bleak House” serves as perhaps Charles Dickens’ darkest portrait of our noble profession.  So what can a 21st century lawyer learn from this most dastardly of barristers…

LTW:  Not now, man.  And you just got that Dickens stuff from Wikipedia. 

HC:  Actually, it was   But you’re right. What can anyone say right now?   How’s this?

Stay safe.  Be healthy.  Keep your loved ones close. 

LTW:  But not too close.  AND WASH YOUR HANDS!

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