The Bill of Rights serves as the underpinning for the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. Who is more deserving of these rights than us, the lawyers? We work hard, we incurred student loans and we had to take a bar exam. Now, it’s our turn to enjoy the freedoms handed to us, on a silver platter, by a grateful nation:
Amendment I (Our Basic Freedoms): Congress, nor any law firm, shall make no law respecting an establishment of a billable-hour requirement, or prohibiting the free exercise of flex-time or a balanced-hours schedule; or abridging the freedom of artistic license, or of the espresso machine, or the right of all attorneys billing more than 1,400 hours per year peaceably to assemble at their favorite sports venues or watering holes, and to petition said law firm for a redress of grievances in the form of bonus compensation.
Amendment II (Right to Bare Arms): A well regulated law firm dress code, being unnecessary to the security and fashion sense of a truly free lawyer, the right of lawyers to shed a jacket and bare their arms shall not be infringed.
Amendment III (Quartering of Attorneys): No Seattle lawyer shall, in time of Mariners be quartered in any office space, without the express written consent of Major League Baseball, nor in time of October, be prescribed to do any work whatsoever. [We can only hope.]
Amendment IV (Unreasonable Client Demands): The right of lawyers to be secure in their persons, offices, papers and effects, against unreasonable client demands, shall not be violated, and no warrants, emails, faxes or cell phone calls shall issue between 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Monday, or in circumstances particularly described in Amendment III, but upon life-threatening situations, supported by sworn and notarized affidavit.
Amendment V (Right Against Self-Incrimination): No attorney shall be held to answer to a superior or client nor shall be compelled in any staff meeting or performance review to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, if said attorney states that he is out of the office in a meeting, but instead is attending a Mariners game.
Amendment VI (Right to Speedy Response): In all cases of a lawyer being forced to wait endlessly for a response from a client, the lawyer shall have the right to compulsory process for obtaining an instantaneous response, and to have the assistance of a paralegal for his troubles.
Amendment VII (Right to Avoid Trial by Jury): In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be extinguished and such value shall simply be shared equally by all attorneys, petitioners and respondents, with no requirement for additional filings in any Court in the United States.
Amendment VIII (Cruel and Unusual Punishment): Excessive billing and collections requirements shall not be required, nor excessive stress imposed or lunch delayed, nor any other cruel and unusual punishments inflicted upon any lawyer.
Amendment IX (Rights Reserved to the Lawyers): The enumeration in the lawyer’s engagement letter of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the lawyer, and it shall be assumed that lawyers retain omnipotent rights.
Amendment X (Attorneys’ Rights): The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to counsel.
Equal Rights Amendment: Equality of rights of the lawyer shall not be denied or abridged by any firm on account of sex or seniority, or lack thereof.
Stacey L. Romberg, Attorney at Law, when not secretly attending Mariners games, practices in the areas of small business law, estate planning and probate — www.staceyromberg.com
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Reprinted from March 2008, King County Bar Association Bulletin, by Stacey Romberg & Gene Barton