Monthly Archives: July 2012

A Good Trial Quote

Here is a quote I saw recently that I think applies really well to trial work:
“Don’t let a win get to your head or a loss to your heart.”– from Public Enemy’s Chuck D.

Specifically, this is from the song “He Got Game” from the movie soundtrack of the same name. One thing about Chuck D., he always has something interesting to say.

I am one of those people who hates to lose. I can get over a win very easily, but a loss- not so much. So it is pretty easy to tell why this quote caught my attention.

Just Say No To Lawyer Vanity Plates

Although this blog is focused on topics related to personal injury litigation, every once in a while I see something off-topic that I feel compelled to address.

This is one of those times. The ABA Journal has a photo gallery of law-related vanity license plates (HT to Kristi Tousignant of the Daily Record). A sampling: ICNVCTU, ISUE4U, SUYAL8R, SUEYATOO, LITIG8R, the list goes on and on.

With all due respect (and yes, I mean that exactly as Ricky Bobby said it) to those who think these plates are cool, you are wrong. I feel comfortable saying this. My first reaction when I see one of these is “Haha, tool.” I do not believe I am the only person who thinks this. My research reveals that 98.76% of all people think law-related vanity plates are totally not cool. Although I made that up, I have never met a single person who thought vanity plates were cool that did not have one.

I really don’t understand why some lawyers think these are a good idea. I know I don’t want my jury pool seeing me get out of my car in the courthouse parking lot with a plate that says ISUE4U. And I really can’t imagine how any other lawyer with a plaintiffs’ practice would feel differently.

Waiting for an Appellate Opinion?

If you read this blog regularly, you know that appellate litigation is part of my practice here at Miller & Zois. I handle all of the appeals that arise out of our firm’s trial practice, and I also accept appellate referrals from other attorneys.

One of the things that I get asked a lot by our injury clients and by lawyers who don’t regularly handle appeals is “How long will it take before an opinion is issued?” Any appellate lawyers who are reading this know that the only answer to that question is “I don’t know.”

Sometimes opinions are issued quickly, sometimes not. In Maryland’s state appellate courts, the fastest I have gotten an opinion was about 90 days after oral argument. The longest it has taken was nearly 14 months after oral argument. As far as I know, there aren’t any Maryland rules or statutes governing how quickly our appellate courts must resolve cases.

There are two things that have me thinking about this.The first is that I argued an appeal in the Court of Special Appeals on March 9, and I am eagerly awaiting the opinion. Every morning when I come in to the office, I check the Maryland Judiciary website to see if the opinion has been released. Not having the opinion by now doesn’t really surprise me, since the Court of Special Appeals is a very busy court. In 2010 (the most recent year statistics are available) <ahref=”http://www.courts.state.md.us/publications/annualreport/reports/2010/annualreport.pdf”> it received 1,980 new case filings, and resolved 2,140 cases. Considering that the court had 13 judges, including the Chief Judge, that’s a staggering amount of work- 164 cases per judge! I think part of the reason our intermediate appellate court is so busy is that there is a right to an appeal in just about every criminal case, and most people who are convicted tend to exercise that right regardless of the likelihood of success.

The second thing was an article in the Daily Record about a Court of Appeals opinion that came out in the last few days indefinitely suspending a Maryland attorney. The article pointed out that the Court of Appeals’ opinion was released more than four years after the court heard argument in the case. Oral argument took place on June 9, 2008. The opinion was released June 22, 2012. The reason for the delay wasn’t addressed in the opinion. The Court of Appeals is a busy court too, but I can’t imagine a four-year delay is just because of a busy caseload. I have to think that somebody must have messed up somehow.

I still don’t know how long an appeal is supposed to take- I’m just happy that none of mine have taken four years! From now on when I get asked how long it will take to get an opinion on appeal, I will answer that I expect it to take somewhere between 90 days and four years. Surely that will be an acceptable answer. Right?