pierce county clerk's office is way cool

It's been years since I've been down there. Have I ever been missing something. They have something now in the Clerk's Office called Law Information Network Exchange, or LINX, that actually lets you look up court calendars online by using your bar number. Wow.

And confirm hearings by email. Zowie.



I had to review a jurisdictional issue today that led me to consider in turn the PKPA, and FFCCSOA. Fortunately the UPA and ICARA did not apply.

"LBJ took the IRT down to 4th Street, USA
When he got there what did he see?
The youth of America on LSD."

Interstate family law work is FUBAR.


another sign that i'm working too hard

I used the word swivet in a brief that I served on OC and filed with the court. I was referring to the local economy. We'll see if the commissioner snarls at me on Wednesday.


as long as i'm criticizing gr 17 . . .

I noticed this morning that GR 17(b)(5) says, "The clerk shall neither accept nor file a document unless it is on bond paper." Now, much as I love the feel of crackling stiff bond paper, it would jam up my trusty HP 3100 something awful. I have been flouting the law for years by filing pleadings printed on laser paper. Recycled, of course. This is the Northwest.

But look a little closer at the rule. It says the clerk may not FILE documents if they're not on bond paper. Now, they FILE the faxed pleadings they receive, right?

I certainly understand why they wouldn't want to file slimy-paper faxes (okay, technically it's thermal transfer paper, okay?). But the thought of the county clerks of this state dutifully stocking their fax machines with bond paper strikes me in my current exhausted state as bizarre beyond belief.

service by telegraph

It hasn't been a very good evening for the Goddess. I have a brief due in three places in Everett--opposing counsel's office, the Clerk's Office, and the Motions Coordinator-- tomorrow by noon. Everett is 40 miles away from my office. I am due in court in Seattle tomorrow at nine on a different matter, so the brief in Everett had to be sent off tonight to all three locations. How did I do this? By the miracle of remarkably primitive technology.

At the beginning of this case in Everett, I negotiated with opposing counsel the right to serve him with papers by fax, in return for accepting service by fax. In Prisoner's Dilemma terms, we have chosen to cooperate rather than defect in this round.

This did have to be expressly negotiated. Oddly enough, although Washington state's Civil Rule 5(h) expressly provides for service of pleadings by telegraph, Civil Rule 5(j) reserves the issue of service by fax, which would actually be useful, for when the courts get around to editing their rules. In 1989, the Washington State Bar Association considered a proposal to recommend to the Supreme Court adoption of a rule allowing service by facsimile. The proposal was defeated by a tie vote. See O'Neill v. Jacobs, 77 Wash. App. 366, 890 P.2d 1092 (1995), fn 2.

And General Rule 17(a)(6) says that no attorney in this state can be required to have a fax machine. No attorney in this state can be required to have a brain in their head, either, apparently.

I am old enough to remember the days of Telex before faxing really caught on. Shockingly superficial research on my part suggests that the first fax system was established in Germany in 1982, but those Telex and cable addresses have been around since the 1920's. Telex, unfortunately, is the Betamax of telecommunications, and you rarely see those addresses anymore. And telegraphy has totally dropped off the map. But fax machines are ubiquitous. Nonetheless, Washington caselaw as recent as May of this year says that service by fax is insufficient to give notice to the other side. Wallace v. Kuehner, __ Wn. App. __, 46 P.3d 823 (2002). Bizarre.

At any rate, step one was to fax my brief to OC a full twelve hours before it is due, which I could do because of our agreement.

Step two was to file my brief by fax in the Snohomish County Clerk's Office in Everett. Fax filing in Washington state can be a little tricky (the rules are mysteriously silent on court filings by telegraph). The same rule, GR 17(a)(6), that says that attorneys can't be required to have fax machines also says that county clerk's offices can't be required to have fax machines, a rule that makes absolutely no sense to me given the role of the Clerk's Office and the cost of a fax machine nowadays. So every county in this state has different rules and forms for fax filing. I love the fact that these madly varying rules are posted on the subpage of the Court Improvement Committee of the WSBA. Why don't they change the rule to make fax machines mandatory in clerk's offices? That would improve the courts. But I digress.

Now, Snohomish County doesn't exactly encourage people to file by fax. The Superior Court website contains nary a mention of this service, although they do let you confirm motions by email (remarkably civilized!), and you have to register in advance to use fax filing. Also, you get charged $3 for the first page, and $1 for every page thereafter, for each separate document that you send. There are also page limitations during the day, but none for Midnight Faxers like me.

Step three was to fax the working papers, with instructions for delivery tomorrow, to the messenger service office in Everett, but that required no forethought. They're pros, they can handle it. No word on whether they know Morse Code.


on the other hand, who needs parody?

We have the deposition of Cardinal Bernard Law in the matter of the Reverend Paul Shanley, day 1 and day 2.

I just couldn't make this stuff up. His Eminence starts interrupting the lawyers again right away. Within a page or two of the transcript, Law denies ever having reviewed the complaint in the case, or the answer filed on his behalf:

"Q. Could you look at Exhibit 2, please, which is the answer that has been filed in this case, and let me ask first whether you've ever seen that answer that was filed on your behalf?

A. Well, let me go through it.

Q. Sure. Absolutely. Please take your time.

A. (Witness reviewing document.)

The answer to this is that I have not seen this document."

And then the deposing attorney proceeds to gently but firmly pin the unhappy cardinal to the wall on the subject of the contributory negligence of the then-six-year-old victim that is alleged in the answer.

Sorry, Bernie. You're the client. Ignorance of your lawyer is no excuse.


why i love the internet

Maybe I should have titled this Why I Love The First Amendment Of The United States Constitution, Well, Let Me Be More Specific, Right Now I'm Thinking About The Freedom Of The Press Clause, Not The Free Exercise Or The Establishment Clauses, Both Of Which Are Pretty Loveable Too. But that was too cumbersome.

But today's burning question is: save Karyn? Or don't save Karyn? And the answer in my mind has little to do with whether a candid twenty-something has learned her lesson about Prada shoes, and who should bail her out, but the continued viability of original work, and original parody, in an era when conventional publishing has gone corporate.

Now, I freely admit that Larry Lessig is much smarter than I can ever hope to be, but I have some faith that the individual spirit reflected in both of these sites will overcome government intervention. Yes, the example is trivial, but political parody websites abound on the Web, and then there's always The Onion. Truly we are living in days akin to those of the Tatler and the Spectator (which now can be studied interactively online, by the way).

update 8-13-2002

Morris Fortmann insists that Save Karyn and Don't Save Karyn are written by one person, a man who delights in getting one over on the media every few years. I am shocked, shocked to hear such a suggestion.


death, taxes, and hewlett-packard

Without laser printers, life as I now know it could not exist.

I will leave for another day a discussion whether or not my professional life as I now know it should exist in this form, and say that I love my Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet 3100. I'm not sure they even make this first-generation multifunction peripheral (MFP, or "Mighty Fine Product" as the Colgate people used to say), but it scans! it copies! it sends and receives faxes!

I also managed to flash upgrade its ROM all by my lonesome, so good are the instructions on its website, which considering how hard I am on hardware is a flippin' miracle. I am the Goddess, after all, who melted a motherboard trying to flash my BIOS two years ago and slightly maimed my former main hard drive (now a slave HD). Ugly, ugly.

Buying HP products is what buying blue-chip stocks used to be, back in the days when investing seemed fun (like, until a year or two ago...). Rock solid, proven performers, can't be improved upon. I bought a used HP IIP in 1992 and used it until 1998 or 1999 with only one repair, for a paper jam that was at least partly my fault.

I have brand loyalty to very few companies, but HP still gets my small business dollar. It's unfortunate that their stock sucks as an investment.


what i really want for christmas

It looks like the Samsung Scurry won't be out by Christmas, so I've revised my Christmas wishlist (Josh and Morris, take note).

I require Heavy Armor 2000 by Otter Products. For a mere $49.95 plus shipping and handling, less than I paid for my Rhinoskin Ti Slider hardcase for my dearly departed Palm IIIxe, you get a product that is airtight, floats, and can be used without removing the cover, none of which was true of the Ti Slider.

From Otter's website:

"The Heavy Armor is designed for the professional that uses their Handheld device in less than ideal conditions. The applications range from military, industrial, emergency services, outdoor sports, airline, automotive, hunting, or any other harsh environment where the device could be subject to dirt, water, shock, or impact. The transparent screen allows the full use of the touch screen without having to remove the device. The bottom portion of the case is made from clear polycarbonate so the infrared beaming of information and data can still be done while the device is enclosed."

Sounds about right for my practice.


our bar numbers are liegion

I've been trying to figure out how the Washington State Bar Association, which is a mandatory bar, assigns the number to each lawyer that s/he needs to put on all pleadings, as, for example, required by Civil Rule 11.

The current numbering scheme is alphabetical according to the day you were admitted--there being frequent swearings in en masse, in my case in the Opera House well before the fat lady sang there for the last time. I was once on a case with the nice fellow who has the number immediately before mine, which was neat in a minor sort of way, though we never filed any joint pleadings.

But there are some attorneys older than me who have really low numbers out of sequence. I sent an email to the State Bar asking them how the numbers are assigned, but have yet to receive the favor of a reply. Do some Washington lawyers have the recycled numbers of dead lawyers? How Gogolian. Don't try to tell me that lawyers don't have souls, now.


Ms. 17279

update: 8-20-2002

The state bar unhelpfully informed me today, "Once a number is assigned to an attorney it is never used again. It belongs to that one attorney." That was the entire email. No sense of history! No sense of the evolution of technology!