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June 21, 2004

Five by Five - Ernest Svenson

Most of you know Ernest Svenson by his nickname (and blog), Ernie the Attorney. Ernie's one-line bio says, "I'm a lawyer who likes change; I may have chosen the wrong profession." Ernie is an business litigator and blogger extraordinaire. Here are Ernie's Five:

1) Modify the contingency fee system to eliminate the conflict of interest that often arises when an attorney has a stake in the outcome of a case that is dependent on physical injury to a client or the client's relative.

2) All judges should be appointed (not elected), or at a minimum disallow financial contributions from lawyers to judicial campaigns.

3) Create official video recording of all open court proceedings (this will encourage better behavior on part of attorneys and judges and be used against those who are incompetent, sleeping in court, or otherwise not behaving in a civil manner).

4) Wi-Fi in all courthouses and allow attorneys to bring in laptops and cell phones, but sanction them if they disturb proceedings by having phones ring or if they use the camera phone feature in violation of a court rule.

5) Eliminate requirements that attorneys get minimum hours in CLE for 'civility' or 'professionalism'. I support efforts to enhance the profession by proclaiming that professionalism matters, but you can't legislate behavior that is aspirational. If it's not an ethical requirement then the people who are the problem are going to keep doing what they are doing (and they would probably do it even if it WAS required).

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