Archive for the ‘Legal’ Category

News Flash: Mickey Mouse Elected As US President

October 2, 2016

La Satira News Service

NOVEMBER 8, 2016–Come January, Michael K. “Mickey” Mouse (pronounced “MOWZ”) will have a new job:  President of the United States of America.

It’s not a job he campaigned or even asked for.  Instead, the 53-year-old plumber from Punxsutawney Springs rode a tidal wave of political discontent and name recognition to rise to the highest office in the land, winning on the strength of millions of voters who, dissatisfied with the choices offered by the major parties, chose to write in the name of Disney’s famous cartoon creation…a name which Mr. Mouse happens to share.

While Mr. Mouse is not the only real person to have a such a name, he is the only one whose practical-joking friends went so far as to submit paperwork at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to make him a bona fide candidate and therefore eligible to receive credit for any write-in votes with his name on them.

“Any big election will have a few ‘Mickey Mouse’ ballots cast by snarky voters,” said Dr. Adam Jefferson of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Political Science and Herpetology.  “It’s just that this time around, there were so many people fed up with the major candidates–and, for once, there was a candidate legally qualified to receive these particular votes.  In terms of the sheer improbability of his manner of arriving at the Presidency, John Tyler and Gerald Ford have nothing on this guy.”

If Mr. Mouse himself is pleased by the prospect of his new career, he is so far being modest about it.

“What do I know about politics?” he wailed upon being informed of his successful candidacy.  “I’m a plumber, for crying out loud.”

So far, Mr. Mouse has been assigned a Secret Service detail.  He has also been deluged with phone calls and e-mail from well-wishers and others in search of one of the hundreds of diplomatic assignments or other political jobs at his disposal.  Almost lost in the shuffle have been several bitter tirades from a few minor party candidates and a series of increasingly desperate call-me-back messages from White House staffers trying to set up situation briefings.

Mr. Mouse’s friends, who filed the initial paperwork on his behalf, were not available for comment, having fled to Canada for reasons of personal safety.

Public opinion about Mr. Mouse’s sudden election has been decidedly mixed.  Some members of the public express nervousness about his lack of political experience and potentially insular worldview.  Others have expressed enthusiasm for Mr. Mouse based on those same attributes, some adding that his background as a plumber may make him uniquely qualified to drain the cesspool of Washington corruption.

Meanwhile, political analysts and governments around the world are combing through Mr. Mouse’s statements and other records, searching for clues about the direction his presidency is likely to take.  The best guess at this point is that Mr. Mouse will push to lower middle-class taxes while increasing spending on urban infrastructure such as water and sewer lines.  While Mr. Mouse is a member of a local union–a virtual job requirement in Pennsylvania–he has not been a particularly active one, and his presidency is likely to hold to a middle ground on labor issues.  His widely-quoted statement on foreign policy (“How should I know?  Let them sort it out by themselves”)  suggests a trend toward isolationism.

Still, there may be a broad difference between his stated policy goals (if any) and the actual direction taken by his administration (if any).  “In a curious irony, Mr. Mouse in many respects is the ideal candidate for the voter who detests the political insider-ism of one candidate and the wealthy chauvinism of the other,” said the University of Punxsutawney’s Dr. Jefferson.  “However, when he gets in office, he may suffer from Ventura’s Syndrome:  being elected on his own, without a party to back him up and introduce his legislation, he may have a difficult job actually doing anything.”

The election, of course, is not official until the Electoral College meets and the electoral votes are counted in Congress, but a drastic change is unexpected, thanks to state laws requiring members of the electoral college to vote according to the results of the election.

However, the Electoral College does have one degree of freedom that it can exercise:  selecting a Vice President, since Mr. Mouse’s campaign–what there was of it–did not propose a candidate for that office.  Some pundits are said to be pushing for the job to be given to one Donald L. Duck, a media research specialist at the University of Pomme de Terre in Idaho, presumably on the basis that his background in the media will help give depth to Mr. Mouse’s policy team.

“I understand both parties are appealing to the FEC to try to get the results overturned,” said Dr. Washington.  “It’s a pity–if the parties had done a better job appealing to the electorate as a whole, rather than individual constituencies, maybe we wouldn’t be in this pickle.”

Copyright 2016

News Flash: Santa Sued Over Escaped Sable

December 20, 2015

Following the long holiday weekend, the justice system this morning is puzzling over a lawsuit against one S. Claus for unspecified damages following an incident in which a wild animal was left unattended with a Christmas tree.

The plaintiff, E. Kitt, filed the suit, which alleges negligence, personal injury, and breach of contract after she woke up on Christmas morning to find her living room in a shambles and her Christmas tree in ruins. The plaintiff discovered the culprit to be a live sable, which bit the plaintiff on the hand as she tried to restrain it.

A source close to North Pole Enterprises, Inc., denied that the company was liable, saying that the plaintiff’s Christmas list stated very plainly that she wanted Santa to “slip a sable under the tree, for me.”  “So he did,” said the source.  “What the sable chose to do after that is between it and the plaintiff.”

A spokesman for the plaintiff responded that, based on the materialistic nature of the other contents of the list, including but not limited to a ’54 convertible, a yacht, decorations from Tiffany’s, and the deed to a platinum mine, Santa might have figured out that she meant a sable coat, rather than a live animal. “Let’s face it; sables are vicious little creatures,” said the spokesman.  “If my client had wanted to keep animals, she probably would have gone for something a little more friendly.  Like maybe a few cats.”

The case is expected to go to court early in the new year.

Copyright 2015

News Flash: Plan to Drain Slough of Despond Mired in Controversy

September 6, 2015

La Satira News Service

A plan by the Vanity Fair Regional Development Authority to drain the Slough of Despond suffered a setback this week when an environmental interest group filed suit against the project, citing inadequate mitigation of the projected environmental impacts.

The project calls for the construction of a road and bridge across the Slough of Despond, to be paid for by the development of most Slough into an up-scale community of homes and shops.

Among other objections, the suit by the Vanity Valley Nature Club claims that the proposed project would eliminate several hundred acres of established wetlands and destroy a significant habitat for Woodpeckers of Illusory Prospects.

“We believe this lawsuit to be frivolous and unnecessary,” said VFRDA executive director Faith N. Lucre in an interview.  “For one thing, the Woodpecker of Illusory Prospects is hardly an endangered species; everyone gets visited by one at some point in their lives.  Moreover, the Woodpeckers aren’t the only things that call the Slough of Despond home:  it’s also a fertile breeding ground for the Mosquitoes of Disappointment, the Leeches of Self-Doubt and the Adders of Dysfunctional Relationships.

“Besides, the plan clearly shows that any wetlands destroyed in this project would be replaced by new wetlands to be developed in the nearby Swamp of Ambivalence and Bog of Ennui.”

In addition to the lawsuit, the project is also threatened by the possible withdrawal of one of the groups that originally proposed it.

“What we had initially proposed was a simple bridge,” explained Guy D. Way, a spokesman for the Celestial City Travelers Association.  “We get a lot of people coming from that direction, and we were hoping to ease the trip a bit.  But somehow the project morphed into, not just a bridge, but what amounts to a small city.  With the crowds and all, this could turn into a bigger obstacle than the Slough itself.  The decision to call the development ‘Materialism Manors’ didn’t exactly increase our comfort level, either.”

A preliminary hearing in the case will be held next month in the Court of Arcane Procedures.

Copyright 2015

News Flash: Smaug Ouster Weighs on Middle-Earth Economy

July 25, 2014

(**spoilers!**)

Rhovanion Times-Observer

A report published today by the Middle-Earth Economic Forecasting Bureau shows that the economy of Rhovanion shrank for a third consecutive quarter, threatening to pull the whole economy of Middle-Earth into recession.  The economic weakness in Rhovanion follows upheaval throughout the region in the wake of the sudden ouster and death of Smaug the Dragon in Esgaroth late last year.

The North Rhovanion Constabulary Force is continuing its investigation into Smaug’s death.  All that is known is that Smaug was shot by a lone bowman as he arrived in Esgaroth by air to consult with local leaders over a growing wave of anti-dragon sentiment.

The economic turbulence immediately following Smaug’s death has been somewhat better documented at this point.  Smaug’s mid-flight demise caused him to crash land on top of the town of Esgaroth, causing damage estimated at 9,435 gold pieces.  The town’s insurance firms have filed a claim against Smaug’s estate for that amount plus 5,000 for pain and suffering on the part of the residents.  Smaug’s demise also precipitated an orc invasion, requiring military involvement from the Dwarves of the Iron Hills and the Elves of Mirkwood to repel.  Both groups have submitted claims against Smaug’s estate to recoup the costs of the intervention.

Further complicating matters, a party of dwarves from the Blue Mountains have petitioned the court for ownership of Smaug’s estate, the bulk of which is represented by the Lonely Mountain and its contents.  The claim is based on the dwarves’ previous ownership of the estate and assertions that Smaug obtained the estate through dubious circumstances.

“The words of these dwarves stand on their heads,” said Ozaun, Smaug’s younger brother and next-of-kin.  “Their claims that Smaug somehow forced his way into ownership of the property are ridiculous.  The Dwarves of Erebor were in a state of financial ruin.  Their very successful extraction of gold and other valuables from the Mountain had caused runaway inflation in prices of commodities like food–particularly and especially food–as well as a significant uptick in criminal activity.  Smaug bought the place out of bankruptcy, reduced the local gold circulation, and through careful estate management has made the place a going proposition once again.  So naturally the dwarves want it back now.”

The extent of Smaug’s economic involvement in the economy of Rhovanion has been a lesson slowly and painfully learned over the last six months.  “Naturally Smaug was extremely interested in the economic well-being of the district,” said Karbomonauksyde, Smaug’s nephew and erstwhile property manager.  “It’s hard to grow your own wealth if all the lands around are economically stagnant.  Do you think dragons grow their hoard by piling it up in a great hall and sitting on it?  Of course not; it has to be invested.”

Much of that investment turned out to be in civic and infrastructure projects, especially in and around Esgaroth.  Projects undertaken by his corporate presence, Dino-Might LLC., included the extension of the pilings on the south side of the city to make room for three more city blocks, the western bridge, and the Great Marketplace.

Dino-Might LLC also provided start-up financing for a number of small businesses, including Forrester’s Blacksmith Shop of West Esgaroth, Iron Hills Savings and Loan, and the North-Lake Pony Farm and Supply Company.

“I don’t think most people quite realized just what place he had in things,” said a spokesman for the government of New Esgaroth.  “He was a major financial partner.  Of course if he caught you mishandling his money he’d eat you alive–so to speak–but he certainly had a claw in a lot that went on around here.  It might be too much to say he had a heart of gold; but he was, in his way, golden.”

Most market-watchers report confidence that a quick solution to the investigation and legal actions could prompt the beginnings of an economic recovery.

Meanwhile, markets were buoyed somewhat on news that redevelopment plans for the long-dilapidated Barad-dûr district in northern Mordor could move forward.  The plans had been held up by disagreements on the requirements for volcano insurance.

Copyright 2014–to the extent that fan fiction can be copyrighted.  Smaug, Middle-Earth, Rhovanion, Esgaroth, and all other entities appearing in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” are of course properties of the Tolkien estate.  Usage of these entities is deemed to comply with relevant Fair Use provisions.

News Flash: Basketball League Eliminates Fouls, Penalties

December 30, 2013

In a well-attended news conference today, a spokesperson for the nation’s preeminent basketball league revealed that the league would begin efforts to remove many of the fouls associated with the game.

“After serious consideration, we have concluded that it is in the league’s best interests to reduce the number of fouls that players can commit during gameplay,” said Jordan Byrd, a spokesperson for the league.  “It’s been ages since fouls have been taken seriously by the players anyway,” said Mr. Byrd, referring to the tendency to view fouls in general not as unacceptable behavior but something to be used strategically to accomplish one’s ends.

“The easiest thing to do is just to cut through the whole legal mess and remove the inconvenient rules,” Mr. Byrd continued.  “This way, the game isn’t delayed by infinite numbers of penalty shots, and audiences will get to see more of their favorite players, whose play time will no longer be limited by their tendency to ‘foul out.'”

According to the statement, fouls to be removed include traveling, palming, double-dribble, and charging, as well as a number of personal fouls.

Following the presentation, Mr. Byrd waved aside worries that, along with the rules, the move would eliminate some of the safety considerations that drove the establishment of the rules in the first place.  “We believe players will take responsibility for their actions,” Mr. Byrd said.  “After all, they certainly don’t want to miss any time due to injuries.  I’m sure they will carefully evaluate the risks of any particular action.”

Mr. Byrd likewise demurred on suggestions that the sport’s long-held philosophy of fouling as normal behavior might have implications on how basketball players and fans approach real-life questions of morals and ethics.  “There’s no reason to suppose people can’t tell the difference between the game and reality,” Mr. Byrd said.  “Even if this suggestion were remotely true, the proposed changes should alleviate any worries about spillover effects.  After all, with fewer rules, there will be less motivation to manipulate the rules in both basketball and life.”

The new rules will be subject to a period for public comment before going into effect next season.

The move, which Mr. Byrd indicated was supported by players and fans alike, drew immediate criticism from various quarters, including the referrees’ unions.  “This move is terrible for the game,” said Lon P. Quaggmeyer, a union representative.  “If they start eliminating rules left and right, they may reach the conclusion that they need fewer referees.  You can bet that job security will be at the top of the list of negotiations at our next bargaining session.”

“It’s all very well to do what you can to provide an exciting game for fans that pay an awful lot of money to see it, but eliminating the rules like this is, by definition, a game-changer,” said Associate Professor Larry Erving of the University of Punxsutawney’s College of Athletics and Quantum Physics.  “Certainly, the games should be more exciting, if riskier for the players.  Over the longer term, there will be implications for how the game is played and, in fact, which players are more likely to wind up playing.  We will likely see skills like agility and dexterity take backseats to, well, brute force.  The end result may look more like a combination of handball and rugby.  I suppose it’s up to the league and ultimately the fans to decide if that’s what they really want.”

“I think in the end this move will force participants–players and fans alike–to think very carefully about what they want the game to look like,” said Prof. Erving.  “Hopefully they’ll think about it before the end of the public comment period.”

Copyright 2013.

News Flash: Court to Decide Truth-in-Advertising Claim Against Newfoundland

June 25, 2013

La Satira News Service

The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador finds itself the plaintiff in a curious case going before the Supreme Court of Canada/Cour suprême du Canada this week that may change the way world sees the province–or at least half of it.

At issue is the name “Newfoundland,” which the Canadian Society for Truth in Advertising/Société canadienne de vérité dans la publicité, which suggests that the name is misleading.  “It isn’t newfound land, is it?” said Jacques Smith, the lead attorney for the Society.  “Europeans have known about the place for a thousand years, if you admit the Viking claim.  Europeans have been aware of this place longer than anywhere else in the Americas.  And of course the aboriginal population has known about the place for maybe ten thousand years.”

The Society/Société has filed a truth-in-advertising suit against the province with the goal of changing the name.  “We’re not too particular,” said Mr. Smith. “Even Relativelynewfoundland might be an adequate description, since it was new at some point, at least to the Vikings.  Perhaps we should call it ‘Tiltöluleganýfannlandið.'”

Representatives of the province declined to answer specific questions about the suit.  “This suit is drawing off vital government resources that could be much better used to serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” said one unnamed spokesman, “to say nothing of wasting the time of the Supreme Court/Cour suprême.  The most astonishing thing about this situation is that such a frivolous suit has made it so far.”

The decision made by the Supreme Court/Cour suprême this week may also determine the fate of a separate suit by the Maritime Grammar Police/Police de grammaire Maritime, who are seeking to have the province renamed “Newlyfoundland and Labrador.”

Copyright 2013

News Flash: Greece Taps Yogurt Craze For New Revenues

May 14, 2013

La Satira News Service

Faced with a stagnating economy, crushing national debt, and a population unwilling to put up with new taxes, the Greek government today announced new and unusual measures to boost the country’s finances.

The source of this new financial lifeline? Yogurt. Or more specifically, the western world’s sudden fixation on “Greek-style” yogurts.

Announcing the government’s intent to file an international trademark on Greek-style yogurt, finance minister Leptos Paradaki praised the increasing market share of yogurt with “Greek” or other Greek-sounding words in their name.

“We are pleased that after all these centuries the rest of the world recognizes the superior health benefits of our style of yogurt,” said Mr. Paradaki. “My associates around the world assure me that Greek yogurt is slowly taking over the shelves of grocery stores. But if the rest of the world is going to derive the benefits of our culture–so to speak–and if these enormous companies can use our name to sell superior products at superior prices, isn’t it only fair that we derive some of the benefit, too?”

By filing for trademark protection under the Madrid Protocol, the Greek government seeks to gain control over the use of the word “Greek” as a marketing term, as well as a variety of existing Greek-sounding yogurt labels. The move is similar to that used by France to ensure that wine labeled as champagne actually grew in the Champagne region of France. However, rather than seeking to limit spurious products, Greece is seeking to capitalize by licensing the names to international yogurt producers.

“This application is ridiculous,” said Elsie Morden of the International Congress for the Culture of Yogurt (ICCY). “If this application is approved, it could have a chilling effect on the entire yogurt industry. I mean, I know yogurt is supposed to be kept cool, but this could really sour relations… I mean, incubate hostilities… I mean… oh, forget it.” Ms. Morden suggested the industry might engage in a tit-for-tat war of words, with new yogurt brands coming out under the label “Hellenized.”

If trademark protection is achieved, the new measure could cause a slight increase in the price of Greek-themed yogurt. “We don’t think we’re asking too much,” said Mr. Paradaki. “If people can pay a dollar or more for six measly fluid-ounces of product, I don’t think anyone will get upset over another nickel or so. After all, it was our idea in the first place.”

Copyright 2013

News Flash: Oberon, Puck Indicted in Assault, Kidnapping Case

May 11, 2013

Titania Charged With Child Neglect

La Satira News Service

After dealing with rumors of a rift between Oberon and Titania, the fairy kingdom’s first family was further rocked this week by the formal indictment of fairy king Oberon for conspiracy, assault with a magic potion, and kidnapping.

The charges arose after Oberon hired Puck, alias Robin Goodfellow, to give Titania a magic potion that would make her more amenable to Oberon’s request that a human child in her care should be transferred to his retinue.  According to the charges, Oberon suborned his employee, Puck, to provide a magic potion that caused the victim to fall in love with the first person seen.  Oberon then used this potion on Titania to compel her to deliver to Oberon’s servants a human boy of whom Titania had legal custody.

For her part, Titania is facing charges of child neglect and endangerment.  The charges have been reduced from child abandonment following her agreement to testify against Oberon.

The child, the son of one of Titantia’s late employees, has been placed in protective custody.

Puck, who is facing charges for conspiracy and assault, as well as unrelated vandalism charges, also refused to comment, apart from stating that he was “following orders.”  The assault charges stem from Puck’s use of the magic potion on a set of humans who happened to be in the area.  Demetrius, Helena, Hermia, Lysander, and Bottom, all of Athens, have filed a civil suit against Puck for distress and mental anguish as the unwitting victims of Puck’s prank.

Helena’s suit also includes a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, due to the subsequent break-up of her marriage to Demetrius.  The break-up occurred after it was revealed that Demetrius had only married her in the first place due to the influence of Puck’s magic potion.  “The defendant knew perfectly well there was an antidote, and it might only be a matter of time before Demetrius ran across it,” said Homer Q. Virgil, Helena’s attorney.  “The defendant says he meant well, but considering how recklessly this was executed, he would have done better to leave the situation alone.”

Puck’s lawyer, Christopher de Vere, attempted to downplay the charges.  “Nothing that was done was specifically beyond the allowed role for mischievous fairies,” de Vere said, “I mean, what’s wrong with these people?  Can’t they take a joke?”

Copyright 2013

 

News Flash: Police Arrest ‘Person of Interest’ in Gatsby Case (*spoilers!*)

April 24, 2013

Nick Carraway Accused of Being Vapid Twerp

West Egg, Long Island– Police investigating the deaths of three people in West Egg last week got a welcome break in the case with the arrest of Nick Carraway.

Mr. Carraway, who was arrested as he was boarding a train for Chicago, was wanted for questioning regarding the deaths of prominent socialite Jay Gatsby, garage owner George Wilson, and the latter’s wife, Myrtle Wilson.  Police have filed charges against Mr. Carraway of conspiracy and failure to prevent harm.

“The State is making the case that Mr. Carraway’s actions contributed to the deaths of his friend and acquaintenaces,” said District Attorney Thomas Parke.  “We have yet to find any indication that Mr. Carraway ever attempted to exert any influence that might have discouraged the self-destructive course on which the victims and suspects were set.”

“Essentially the State is trying to prosecute my client on the grounds that he’s a vapid twerp,” said Horatio P. Quaggmeyer, Mr. Carraway’s attorney. “And whether or not Mr. Carraway falls under that heading, the fact of the matter is Vapid Twerphood is not, in itself, a criminal offense.”

Mr. Quaggmeyer is pursuing an unusual defense in this case.  Rather than contesting the facts of the case or contesting his guilt or innocense, Mr. Quaggmeyer is asking the court to enter a plea of litterarum propositum superiorem. 

In short, this plea allows Mr. Carraway to escape prosecution on the grounds that his first-person narration of events allows those studying the case to have a clearer picture into the course of events and the characters of the participants than what might otherwise be provided.  “The State wants to prosecute my client on the grounds that his gutless interaction with the other suspects helped to precipitate the final crisis,” Mr. Quaggmeyer said.  “And yet the sheer insipidity of my client’s character allows details to come to light that we might otherwise know nothing about.  If my client had had any fortitude or strength of character, he might not have gotten involved at all, and then where would we be?  In this sort of case, it’s absolutely essential to have someone who can be, as it were, carried away with the action.”

“We’re used to throwing the book at people,” said District Attorney Parke about the unusual defense.  “I think this is the first time anyone has thrown a book at us.  Who does this Carraway person think he is, some refugee from an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel?”

The three other members of what police are calling the Gatsby Four are wanted for questioning.  These include businessman Tom Buchanan and his wife Daisy Buchanan, who are believed to have fled the country, and tennis pro Jordan Baker.  All four (including Carraway) are believed to have been in Mr. Gatsby’s company the evening before his death.

Copyright 2013

News Flash: Young Lawyers Seek Fast Track to Stardom

March 2, 2013

La Satira News Service

Washington, DCIn a little restaurant off D Street, Erik Praten takes orders, chats with customers, and delivers food to tables.  Like so many of his peers, Praten finds “waiter” to be a description, not only of his job, but also of himself.

“This obviously isn’t something I want to do for the rest of my life,” says Praten, taking advantage of a work break to leaf through an analysis of Kelo v City of New London while sipping a latte.  “I’m just waiting for my big break.”

Praten is one of thousands of other recently-graduated law students who come to Washington every year seeking a glamorous career in the legal profession.  Rather than returning to his native Rostovondon, Kansas, after college, or even moving to one of the larger cities to practice law there, Praten moved here to gain the inside track into legal stardom.

“This is where it all happens,” Praten says.  “Well, not ‘here’ specifically, as in this restaurant, but here in DC.  This is where the Supreme Court is; this is where laws are written.  If you want to work in the big time, if you really want to be a star, this is where you come.  A lot of my fellow students, when they graduated, decided to start work at the bottom, becoming junior members in small law firms.  That’s okay for them, but I know there’s something better in store for me.”

“I thought my big break had arrived earlier this year, with a liability case involving bismuth exposure; but that went over like a lead balloon. In fact a lead balloon would have had a better chance of passing as a liability case.  But I’m confident, I’ll get there in the end.”

Later that evening, Praten is at one of his other jobs, busking for tips in a Metro station.  Instead of playing an instrument or singing, though, Praten recites testimony and arguments from recent court cases.

“Oh, is that what he’s doing?” said one on-looker when asked about Mr. Praten’s performance.  “That’s a relief.  At first I thought he was talking on a cell phone; then when I walked past I noticed he didn’t have one.  That was very worrying.”

Praten admits his efforts here have not been as remunerative has he might like.  In a way, though, tips are a secondary consideration:  the main goal is to get noticed.  “It’s only a matter of time before some legal bigwig sees me and I can impress them firsthand with the quality of my research and analysis.”

Visibility may not be enough:  the competition for jobs is so tremendous many would-be lawyers hire agents to push their talents at legal firms.  Such agencies typically work on commission, taking up to fifteen percent of the lawyer’s salary for the duration that the lawyer is represented.  “Fifteen percent is obviously higher than a lot of agency commissions,” admits John Q. Public, the head of one such agency.  “But you have to remember, in this town the competition is fierce, the cost of living is high, and a lot of starting salaries are still pretty low.  Plus, you have to remember who our clients are.  Have you ever tried to work out a contract when the other party is a lawyer?  There’s a lot of extra rigor involved.”

Besides the growth in the number of legal talent agencies, the influx of new talent is driving other structural changes.  Some of the larger legal firms have started hosting talent nights, inviting amateurs and beginners to put their debating skills on display in coffee shops, small theaters, and other venues, for live audiences.  Reaction from said audiences has been somewhat mixed.  “I guess it’s an acquired taste,” said Dierdre Lawhead, a barista at a local Megabux Coffee franchise.  “It’s not what I’d call entertaining, but I guess it’s better than reading the comments at the end of online news articles.  Still, I have to admit hosting these things has improved sales of our Ultracaffeinated line of products.”

Praten has yet to participate in one of these talent nights.  “The waiting list to participate in one of these things is enormous,” he said.  “It’s really a matter of luck.”

Meanwhile, Praten continues to change his address as his personal economy dictates, often crashing with friends at their apartments or sleeping in his car–an especially challenging approach to life, given Washington’s reputation for quirky parking rules.  “Every now and then I wake up in the impound lot,” Praten admits.  “But it’s only a matter of time before I make it big.  Life’s like a court case, you know; you have to write your own verdict.  Before you know it I’ll be the talk of the town.  You won’t be able to get me off Court TV.  You’ll see my picture in magazines like Persons and Them. Even appearing in a tabloid like National Litigator wouldn’t be altogether bad.”

Copyright 2013.

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