Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's a Trap!

You get what you pay forA problem with the Internet age is that people seem to think that if they can't find it on, then it isn't worth using or that everything found on Google is the bee's knees of information.  Darn near every day I have someone who asks, "Isn't everything (that everyone wants) online for free?"  Short answer: no, it isn't and the problem with this mindset is that, as with most things, you get what you pay for.

Too often I have people coming up to me complaining that the judge tossed out another of their legal documents because it was "wrong" because they relied on free stuff they scrounged up on the Internet. "WHAT is the court's problem!?" they'll scream.  I'm sorry to be blunt but the problem is not the court - it's you.  

You (and most everyone else) sit at home searching the Internet looking for free stuff on the web because you are too lazy to go to your local county law library and use the resources lawyers use.  I know, I know - that's a bit harsh but the problem is that most of the free stuff on the web is not acceptable in any court.  Anything of worth is not going to just sit around free for the taking.  As such, you need to stay away from the siren song of the Internet and physically go to your local county law library and use the resources lawyers use if you want to get your legal documents accepted (and respected) by the court(s).  Which brings us to the point of today's discussion.

See, a while back I had a guy come into the library.  Seems guy had scored some free stuff off the Internet about how to write a motion for the Superior Court.  For the record, motions filed in a California court have 5 parts:
  1. Notice of Motion (says that you are filing a motion)
  2. Motion (says what you want)
  3. Declaration (says what happened)
  4. Points and Authorities (says what you want based on the law)
  5. Proposed Order (says what you want the judge to do)
The problem guy faced was that he didn't have #'s 2, 3 and 5 and failed to apply parts of #4 all because he relied exclusively on the free stuff he'd found on the Internet to show him what to do.  Sad, sad, sad was he (because he'd been humiliated in court). 

Happy, happy, happy was he when he met me (his local county Law Librarian) because in less time than it took me to write this blog post, I located  California Forms of Pleading and Practice (Lexis) and guy had everything he needed for his motion in a nice, tight package.  You can also find most of what you need looking in American Jurisprudence Pleading and Practice Forms Annotated (West).

I guess the moral to this story is, if you want to be set on the path to happiness and glory, consult your local county Law Librarian.  If, however, you have a penchant for misery and woe, stick with using free stuff on the "Internet."  Personally I'd go the Librarian route because it's a whole lot less of a hassle (to get it right the first time) and just talk with someone who knows where to go to get what you want.