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William C. Altreuter
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Walking out of court yesterday following an infant's compromise hearing I reflected on the stages of a lawsuit. There is a truism about technology that seems applicable to this sort of thing as well: they say that the most difficult part of bringing energy or water or wireless signals into a house is the distance from the curb to the house itself-- the last six feet problem. It sometimes seems like that's how it goes with a lot of cases-- you do the pleadings, you conduct the discovery, you negotiate. Then, when you have an agreement, you have to go through an elaborate rigmarole: preparing closing papers, getting signatures, filing with the clerk's office, getting checks, disbursing checks, on and on. The thing is, most of the stuff leading up to the last bits is kind of fun. The final work feels tedious because mentally the case is already over. It never seems to me that I'm even getting paid for filing stipulations of discontinuance (although I am), because by that time the case has moved from the very front of my mind to the place where I store stuff like my high school locker combination.

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