Friday, October 9, 2015

CCR Chuckles Brigade - Lawyers

(The following was not sent to the entire CCR e-mail list.)

TO:  Chuckles Brigade

   Today’s lesson is how to communicate in a clear, coherent and an unambiguous fashion with a lawyer…especially if you are seeking to obtain information regarding a client they may represent.
   Remember, most lawyers are not as sharp, intelligent, or as savvy as you are, so it is imperative to be precise.
   Therefore, when using acronyms in correspondence with a lawyer, the best rule of thumb is…don’t.  Why?  The immeasurable increased cost to someone (read: their client who is paying with your tax dollars) could wilt a starched shirt.
   Consider the following example.

  *  If you are interested in obtaining Open Records information regarding the operations of a middle school (generally considered to be up to grade eight), do not state, or use the following acronym in your request — Sam Houston, MS(For individuals with cognitive skills, MS used in context with a school district has always meant Middle School as opposed to HS which means, wait for it, High School.)
*   If you should use the acronym MS, then expect the lawyer’s billing clock to ding for extra bucks when they question why an astute individual like you would use this acronym.  Without putting words in your mouth, the lawyer just might escalate his need to compose unnecessary prose, to the $$ticking$$ of his billing clock, and ask for clarification of this ‘mysterious’ term — MS.  In essence, he will write another expensive letter asking you to, for his edification, explain exactly what was meant by the MS acronym.
*   After all, the lawyer does represent Sam Houston, MS, the request is in regard to an Irving school, and the information requestor was certainly clear in their information needs.  So?

*   From the lawyer’s warped, noncommittal to addressing the real information request, or the possible need to maybe bill as many hours as possible to their client, they could view the information request, of a straight forward and understandable acronym, from a myopic perspective.  Perhaps, the billing-churning cycle of the lawyer might cause them to view MS as possibly meaning:
Mississippi (MS)
Multiple Sclerosis
 Minimum Standards 
Mine Standards 
Main Sail
Mach Speed
Master of Science
Moabite Stone
Möbius Strip

   Seriously, in this valid example of requesting information about a particular school in the Irving system, which the lawyer represents, does MS really have a chance of actually meaning any of the above in the context of the stated Open Records request?
   Apparently,  when a legal billing clock is turned on, does the lawyer have to capitalize on every non-golden opportunity to create additional billing hours?  Is this an ABA (American Bar Association…for the acronym impaired) requirement?   
  In the example of the Sam Houston, MS issue, would this be considered real capitalism in action, or just potential greedy billing to be paid for with your tax dollars?
   You decide…chuckle!

……………………….Mark Holbrook

Note:  For those with reading understanding-impairments, coupled with acronym issues, the above is clearer when reading the following DMN tweet by reporter Avi Selk.  The light shines bright on how something so simple can escalate into something so very expensive to tax payers.
I ask for public docs from #Ahmed's Houston Middle School. @IrvingISD's law firm asks if I mean Houston, Mississippi 

Additional Consideration:  Yes, today is DCF (Double Chuckle Friday). To observe what happens to an individual who might gorge on too much Red Meat, or guzzle gallons of Cruz-laced TEA, then the following article could serve as a warning.