The latest issue of the ABA Journal, the monthly magazine of the American Bar Association, just arrived in my mailbox. The cover story profiles “Lions of the Trial Bar” — attorneys over the age of 70 who have indelibly left their mark on the American legal system.
Conjuring up the acrid smell of cigar smoke and the clink of glasses filled with single barrel bourbon, the article pays nostalgic tribute to the heyday of the trial lawyer — the palmy days before trials started vanishing (and, judging from the photos of those featured, before women and people of color were better represented at the bar).
Here’s what one of these old lions had to say about mediation, which I present to you in all its unexpurgated glory:
They’ve invented this new term, litigator. What the fuck is a litigator? I’m a trial lawyer. I try cases. There are some lawyers who do nothing but this mediation bullshit. Do you know what the root of mediation is? Mediocrity!
And as for ADR generally?
The move to replace jury trials with mediation and arbitration, he says, is actually an effort by elitists in our society to control how disputes are decided.