Wild paper chase? No, that sucks
April 30, 2012 10:28 AM Subscribe
Help me pick an amusing name for the not-so-amusing tendency of older lawyers to send their researchers on wide goose chases for half-remembered cases.
posted by hayvac to law & government (22 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Just about anyone who has done research work as a student or junior lawyer has experienced this:
1. Senior lawyer tells you about a case she vaguely recalls, definitely from within the last two years, the judge was certainly Smith, and it was about topic X.
2. Searching with those parameters finds nothing, so you expand the search. Senior Lawyer sends you an email asking why you're taking so long -- after all, she gave you all that information!
3. You eventually find the case in question, it's from 10 years ago, it's by Judge Jones, and it either briefly touches on topic X or is about something else entirely.
The conclusion is usually bringing the case to the senior lawyer who goes, "Oh really? I guess the old coconut ain't what it used to be," and chuckles at your fruitless hours of work.
(Judges do this to their clerks all the time too. It happens often enough that I think it reveals something about how people (or maybe just lawyers) encode information in their brains.)
Everyone I know in the legal field has at least one story about this, but no one has bothered to come up with a catchy, tongue-in-cheek name for either the misdirected paper chase itself, or for the mild mental disorder that seems to hit every lawyer around 10 years of practice.