Episode 12: Grand Jury Decides 22.5 Cases Per Mile

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1. Sheldon Krantz, former DLA Piper partner, wrote a piece yesterday for the ABA Journal about America’s failing access to justice initiative. Mr. Krantz leans more toward mandating pro bono hours and allowing non-lawyers to practice in limited instances, but I disagree to a certain extent. My thoughts are actually summarized by the first comment which I’m reproducing here:

While I agree that attorneys should provide pro bono, and provide as much as they are capable, we have to realize that access to justice is a societal issue, and finding a solution shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of attorneys alone.  As attorneys, providing pro bono services is the very best way we can help.  But it won’t solve the problem, and articles that put the entire problem on attorney shoulders help create the illusion that it’s an attorney problem, and not a societal problem.  Personally, I provide pro bono services because it’s important to me – I grew up poor, and my own family members have no one to help them.  I’m also a young associate in a small firm, however, so I have to balance my duties and the firm’s needs, and I only take pro bono cases through a local volunteer lawyer’s project.  The unfortunate reality in our area of the city is that a large proportion of the folks who come in for a consultation need pro bono or low cost services, and I can’t pick and choose among them.  Sometimes all I can do for these folks in their consultation is help them figure out what their issues are and provide them with basic information and the contact information for the legal aid/clinic/vlp services available in the area.

Pro bono from attorneys is part of the fix, but it is not THE fix.  Pretending it is provides an opportunity for the rest of society to pretend it’s the “lawyer’s problem.”

2. A North Carolina grand jury recently managed to hear 276 cases, indict all of them, and they were able to do it in a mere 4 hours! That means they spent an average of 52.2 seconds for each case (one of which was a voluntary manslaughter case), during which time they presumably heard evidence, asked questions, and made a decision. To put that in more amusing terms, because why not, assuming the average person walks at a rate of 4.5 feet per second, if this jury would have been walking while deliberating, they would have decided about 22.5 cases per mile.

3. My data was stolen in the now-infamous Target breach so I’ve been following the story. Now it seems that the breach can be tracked back to a heating-and-air-conditioning contractor. Tsk.

4. “You know where there’s a lot less crime? There’s a lot less crime in China.” Quote from Joel Pruce, a post-doc at University of Dayton, on a human rights fellowship. The ABA Journal discusses the recent encouragement of Dayton authorities to install cameras onto large buildings and the like. The teaser story is worth some consideration as well — using airplane wing-mounted cameras to monitor in-progress crimes. The future is now. The future is still creepy.

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