Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Simple Question

So you probably know more about the law than you think (unless you are one of those horribly annoying people who think you know everything, but really know nothing). If you've watched some Law and Order or Boston Legal or Ally McBeal or Judging Amy then you've probably picked up something along the way. When you get to law school there are definitely a few things that really are common knowlege. It's wierd too, because we have television and movies and maybe books (if you read John Grisham) to thank for that.

That being said the layman doesn't know anything about law. Seriously, repeat that to yourself. I know I just built up your confidence about knowing something and then I come along and stole the twinkle from your eye, but sorry it's the truth. While most people may have some idea of what a trial is like (probably romanticized) it would be nigh impossible for you to actually look up a law (it's relatively difficult to look up a statute on the internet believe it or not). Plus you wouldn't know what kind of law you were looking for and if, by chance, you found the right statute you still wouldn't know how to find the proper caselaw to actually interpret what it means and even at that point it can be pretty murky. This is not because you are stupid (don't get me wrong you may be stupid, I don't know, but a smart person would have the same problem). This is because the law is SO complicated.

In the same way I might say you know nothing about the law an attorney would say that I know nothing about the law and a older attorney would say he knows nothing about the law and a judge would say that the lot of us know nothing about the law, ect... It's just really complicated. What you might be able to infer at this point (if you've been following along) is that there are no simple answers in law. Got that? No simple answers.

At this point you might be thinking: What the heck is this post about anyway? What is your point or are you just trying to annoy me? Well get ready to feel like you just wasted five minutes because my point is: There are no simple questions in law either. Okay there is one simple question (to be answered at the end of the post).

Time and time again people will come to an attorney and say I just want know if this is legal. The answer to that question is always MAYBE. Maybe it depends on... You want an example. Question: "I just want to know if murder is legal." Answer: Was it in self-defense? (The answer to a legal question should always be maybe or another question). So yeah we all know it's illegal to murder someone but it is defensible in lots of situations so there you go. No simple question, no simple answer.

Are you ready?

Now for the one simple question...

"Can they sue me for this?"

Answer: YES. They can always sue you for that. They may not have a good case. It may be a waste of thier money and everyone's time, but someone can always drag your ass into court. Now how long it stays there...

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